The night sky from ancient times interested man. There is a story behind each of his drawings. Today, Libra is in the center of our attention - a constellation that is part of the zodiacal circle and contains many interesting objects.

Not the most noticeable

Libra: constellation in the sky (photo)

Many celestial drawings used in the preparation of horoscopes are quite clearly visible. Constellation Libra is not one of them. The luminaries that make it are mostly dull. Its two brightest points, alpha and beta, belong to the second magnitude. The rest of the luminaries are poorly noticeable to the observer, not armed with a telescope. Libra can be said to be on the border between the bright zodiacal constellations of the Northern Hemisphere and the less visible, located in the Southern.

Scorpio Part

Libra is a constellation, somewhat younger than the rest of his companions by horoscope. Originally it was part of Scorpio, and only in the II century BC. er became separate. In the preceding period, the constellation was depicted either as an altar, then as a lamp, or as a scale itself. Moreover, these objects were placed in the claws of Scorpio. There is, however, the opinion that Libra was perceived as a separate constellation already in the ancient Sumerian civilization.

If we turn to antiquity, then this heavenly picture is found on the pages of the famous treatise of Ptolemy Almagest. There he bears the name "Scorpion Claws". In parallel with this designation of the group of stars, there was a separate name "Libra", which was part of the zodiac and came to Greece from Asia.

With the late appearance of this celestial pattern and the fact that it is the only inanimate object among the astrological signs. The preserved names of its two bright stars, translated as “southern and northern claws”, testify to the origin of Libra today.


Libra is a sign of the zodiac, a constellation symbolizing harmony. Many legends of the ancient world are associated with it. In ancient Greece, the scales were considered an attribute of the goddess Themis, the wife of the thunderer Zeus, who monitored justice in the world. Her image, which is familiar to us today, includes a blindfold and a sword. It is believed that the last attribute is the result of the influence of Roman culture. The Greek Themis always held in her hand not a sword, but scales and a cornucopia in order to distribute the awards justly. According to legend, Zeus perpetuated his wife’s instrument by placing it in the sky.

There is another version of the origin of the constellation. In it, Libra is associated with the name of the Roman emperor Augustus the Just. After his death, the people, grateful to the governor for kindness, wished to place a constellation in his honor in heaven. For this, Scorpio was “trimmed down,” and the symbol of equality and justice shone between him and Deva.

The stars in the Libra constellation is rather dim. However, there are remarkable objects. The brightest spot of the picture — "any El Shamali" ("the Northern claw"), or beta Weights. The star is a blue-white dwarf main sequence.

Beta Libra rotates 100 times faster than the Sun. A simple spectrum of stars allows scientists to actively use it to obtain information about the interstellar medium.

One secret is connected with the Northern claw. According to Ptolemy and Eratosthenes in the period of Antiquity Beta Libra the stars are much brighter. Astronomers do not yet understand what causes a decrease in luminosity.

The second brightest point of this heavenly pattern is the alpha Libra. It is called "Zuben Elgenubi" ("southern claw"). This is a multiple star system, the main component of which is a hot blue star. At a fairly impressive distance from him is a satellite. It is defined as a yellowish star with its own motion, similar to the analogous parameter of its companion. Until the end it is unclear whether the luminaries are physically related. The reason to doubt this is the huge distance (140 times farther than from the Sun to Pluto) that separates them. If the stars are connected, then the period of their circulation should exceed 200 thousand years.

The brighter component of the proposed system is also a double star. Its components are very close to each other, and therefore poorly distinguishable. The distance between them is almost equal to the path from the Sun to Mercury.

Libra is a constellation with more than one multiple system. The third luminance of light consists of several components. This is the scale of Libra, also called "Zuben el Aqrab" ("scorpion claw"). The brightest element of the system is the orange giant. Its diameter exceeds the analogous parameter of the Sun by 14 times. The scale of Libra is ahead of the center of our planetary system both in mass and luminosity (2.5 and 71 times respectively). To date, the exact age of this space object remains a mystery. According to various estimates, it ranges from 1 to 3.9 billion years.

The second companion is located at a short distance from the first and somewhat dimmer. Presumably, it consists of two stars.

Planetary system

Libra is a constellation that includes the star, around which may rotate the planet, suitable for life. Is Gliese-581 or wolf-562 — red dwarf, remote from the Sun is 20.4 light years away. It is included in the list of the hundred nearest stars to us.

In 2010, it was believed that the Gliese-581 planetary system contains 6 objects. Three of them, according to scientists. located in a zone suitable for life. Conditions on such planets are suitable for the existence of water in a liquid state and life in the form familiar to us. However, studies in subsequent years gave contradictory results. Some of them have refuted the probability of the existence of some planets, others have confirmed. Among astronomers today there is no consensus on this issue.

The Libra constellation is small and inconspicuous, but in its expanses there are a lot of interesting objects. The ancient astronomers and drafters of horoscopes turned to him, it is not deprived of attention even today. The constellation Libra in the sky, therefore, is the subject of much scientific research.