Looking Up: King Snake

May 22, 2017

Credit Image via bisque.com / EARTHSKY.ORG

This week on Looking Up we learn the tale of  Hydra the snake, the longest constellation in the night sky.

If you are keeping up with your action movies these days, you know of the danger posed by the evil organization, Hydra! In the world of Marvel Comics, Hydra is a big deal.

And would it surprise you to learn that Hydra is a pretty big deal in astronomy as well? That’s because, of all the 88 constellations in the night sky, the constellation Hydra is the largest of them all. This huge snake, well, snakes its way through the Southern Colorado sky, and you can see it right now.

Hydra is up in the sky through no fault of its own. In a previous episode, we talked about Corvus the Crow not getting a cup of water to the god Apollo quickly enough. Well, mean old Corvus claimed Hydra, the snake, had attacked him and slowed him down. Apollo wasn’t known for his calm demeanor, and in his rage, he tossed the crow, Corvus, the Cup, Crater, and the poor innocent snake, Hydra, up in the night sky. Now, the three constellations soar across our night sky, and I bet the snake is a tad grumpy, but at least it got to be the biggest thing up there. Hydra is the king of constellations, and if I were the crow, I’d be worried about that big snake. And, never tick off Apollo, or you may end up, well, up. 

If you’d like to take a closer look at Hydra or any of the wonderful and amazing things in the sky, please visit CSASTRO.org for a link to information on our monthly meetings and our free public star parties! 

This is Hal Bidlack for the Colorado Springs Astronomical Society, telling you to keep looking up, Southern Colorado!