The Constellation Hercules
Lots of Brawn But...
Not Very Bright

The constellation Hercules is big in size but... not very luminous. Hercules is the fifth largest constellation but its brighest stars are only of the low second or third magnitude. This makes this constellation hard to spot for the inexperienced stargazer.

Originallly known as Heracles to the Greeks, Hercules' name was changed by the Romans.

As the son of the god Zeus and the mortal woman Alcmene, Hercules came under the wrath of Zeus' wife Hera. She attempted to kill the baby Hercules by sending two giant snakes to attack him in his crib.

Already possessed of great strength Hercules was able to strangle the snakes and save his life. Eventually Hercules was sent out to perform his famous twelve labours. These tasks were thought to be impossible to accomplish and Hera thought that surely Hercules would be killed.

The twelve labours are as follows:

1.slay the Nemean lion Leo.

2.slay the 9-headed Hydra. During this fight Hercules killed Cancer the Crab.

3.capture the golden hind of Artemis.

4.capture the Erymanthian boar.

5.clean the Augean stables in one day.

6.slay the Stymphalian birds Lyra, Cygnus and Aquila.

7.capture the Cretan bull, which some believe to be Taurus.

8.steal the mares of Diomedes.

9.obtain the girdle of the Amazon queen Hippolyta.

10.obtain the cattle of the monster Geryon.

11.steal the golden apples of the Hesperides.

12.capture Cerberus.

constellation hercules stars

hercules constellation with lines

Finding Hercules Constellation

Right Ascension: 17 hours

Declination: 30 degrees

Visible between latitudes 90 and -50 degrees

Best seen in July (at 9:00 PM)

Named Stars: RASALGETHI (Alpha 1 Her) Kornephoros (Beta Her) Sarin (Delta Her) Marfik (Kappa Her) Maasym (Lambda Her) Kajam (Omega Her)

The constellation Hercules is located between the constellations Lyra on one side and on the other side by Corona Borealis and Boötes constellation The Hercules constellation is depicted upside-down kneeling over the head of Hydra. This would put his legs at the top of this picture with his arms extended downward.

It is possible to imagine him with arms raised and the legs down as he kneels. The bends in the picture becoming his knees.

Use your imagination and picture it as you like.

The "keystone" of Hercules is easiest to spot. This is the square that makes the torso or body of Hercules.

Globular cluster M13 is located in this area. M13 known as the Hercules cluster is regarded as the best globular cluster for viewing in the northern hemisphere.

Visible to the naked eye on dark, clear nights. This cluster is very nice to see in binoculars and quite delightful in a telescope.

M92 although not quite as bright is also a nice sight through binoculars or a telescope.

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