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Libra

Libra

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AbbreviationLib
GenitiveLibrae
Meaning in Englishthe Scales
Right ascension15 h
Declination-15°
Visible to latitudeBetween 65° and -90°
On meridian9 p.m., June 20
Area
 - Total
Ranked 29th
538 sq. deg.
Number of stars with
apparent magnitude < 3
2
Brightest star
 - Apparent magnitude
Zubeneschamali[?] (β Lib)
2.6
Meteor showers
Bordering constellations

Libra (the scales) is a constellation of the zodiac. It is a fairly inconspicuous constellation and has no star of first magnitude, lying between Virgo to the west and Scorpius to the east. As the names of the brighter stars testify, it was at one point part of Scorpius' claws.

Notable features

The brightest stars in Libra form a rectangle:

  • α Librae, Zubenelgenubi ("southern claw"), a visual binary;
  • β Librae, Zubeneschamali ("northern claw");
  • γ Librae, Zubenelakrab ("scorpion's claw");
  • δ Librae, an eclipsing variable.

α and β Librae are the scales' balance beam, and γ and δ are the weighing pans.

Mythology

The constellation, which originally formed part of the scorpion's claws, is the youngest of the Zodiac and the only one not to represent a living being. In Greek mythology, the constellation depicts the scales held by Astraea (the Virgin), the goddess of justice.

Astrology

The astrological sign Libra (September 23 - October 22) is associated with the constellation.

In some cosmologies, Libra is associated with the classical element Air, and thus called an Air Sign (with Aquarius and Gemini). Its polar opposite is Aries.


Constellations of the zodiac : Aries -- Taurus -- Gemini -- Cancer -- Leo -- Virgo -- Libra -- Scorpius -- (Ophiuchus) -- Sagittarius -- Capricornus -- Aquarius -- Pisces


Libra is also a Roman coin and weight measure, see Historical weights and measures



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