Librais a constellation of the Zodiac, which lies just south of the celestial equator, between Virgo and Scorpius. Originally it was seen to represent the claws of the Scorpius, the scorpion, which is why its brightest stars have names that mean the northers and southern claw. Libra was visualized as a balance by the Romans over 2,000 years ago, and it is now usually depicted as the scales held by the adjacent figure of Virgo, who is seen as the goddess of justice. The Sun passes through Libra from October 31st to November 23rd.
Depiction: The Scales
Highest in the Sky: May to June
Size Ranking: 29th
Coverage Area: 538 Sq. Degrees
Right Acension: 15 hours
Visibility: 57°N to 90°S
NGC 5897: Globular cluster
Merrill 2-1 M2-1: Planetary nebula
Zubenelgenubi, Alpha Librae
Zubenelschemali, Beta Librae
Zubenelakrab, Gamma Librae
Zubenhakrabi, Sigma Librae
Best Viewed Objects/Stars
Alpha Librae (The Southern Claw Zubeneschamali)
A wide double star. The two components of magnitudes 2.8 and 5.2 can be separted with binoculars or even good eyesight.
Beta Librae (The Northern Claw Zubeneschamali)
The constellation's brightest star, at magnitude 2.6. It is said by some observers to have a greenish tinge, which is highly unusual. Binoculars or a small telescope should reveal its color.
An eclipsing binary of the same type as Algol (in Perseus). Its variations in magnitude, from 4.9 to 5.9 over 2 days 8 hours, are easy to follow though binoculars.
A complex multiple star appearing to the naked eye as a single star of magnitude 4.5. Binoculars show a wide 6th-magnitude companion, 25 Librae. A telescope with an aperture of 3 in (75 mm) or more shows that the primary has a 9th-magnitude partner. High magnification should reveal that this fainter companion is itself a close pair.
A double star with components of magnitudes 5.7 and 6.7. A telescope with an aperture of about 3 in (75 mm) is needed to separate them.