Welcome to the Mythological Constellation section! There are many of these constellations, but the ones we will go over are:
The constellations will be appearng in the same order they are in the list above. Read on to find information about them!
Hydra has arrived! It is the largest constellation in the night sky, covering 102.5 square degrees. The Hydra is a mythological serpent. It was the child of Typhon and Echidna. Echidna was a half-woman, half-serpent creature. Typhon was a beast with one hundred dragons' heads. The Hydra was described as a serpent with 9 heads, and even worse, one of them was immortal. In other myths, Hydra had only one head, probably the immortal one. It lived near the town of Lerna, where it killed cattle. The Hydra, in mythology, was Heracles's 2nd labor. Every time he cut off one of its heads, 2 more would grow out in its place. He was distracted from his fight with Hydra by a crab that attacked his fot. He killed it, and Hera, who hated Heracles, placed it among the stars as the constellation Cancer. Eventually, Heracles got help from his charioteer, who burned the severed necks of the beast after they were cut off. Eventually, Heracles cut off its immortal head and buried it under a rock. He dipped his arrows in the beast's poisonous blood, which would lead to both his death and Crotus's, who was represented by the constellation Saggitarius.
Ah yes, time to learn about Draco. Draco lies in the northern sky. It occupies an area of 1083 square degrees. It's name means "the dragon" in Latin. Draco represents Ladon, the dragon that protected the gardens of the Hesperides in Greek mythology. Draco was first catalogued by Greek astronomer Ptolemy in the 2nd century. It is a circumpolar constellation*. It is also associated with a myth. You see, a golden apple tree was given to Hera as a marriage gift. Hera put Hesperides in charge of guarding the apple tree. In some versions of the myth, Ladon had a hundred heads and was the child of the monster Typhon and Echidna, who was half woman and half serpent. In others, he was the offspring of two sea deities, Ceto and Phorcys, and there is no mention of the number of heads he had.She also placed Ladon around the tree so Hesperides wouldn't steal any of the apples. But, as one of his twelve labors, Hercules had to pick some of the apples. Using the poisonous arrows he gained while fighting the Hydra, he killed Ladon and took the apples. Grieving Ladon's death, Hera placed it among the stars. Draco is usually depicted coiled around the North Pole, with one foot of Heracles on its head.
Now it's time to talk about my personal favorite constellation, Lynx. Lynx is located in the northern hemisphere, and isn't usually associated with any myths. It also represents the animal, lynx. Lynx is the 28th constellation in size, occupying an area of 545 square degrees. And although this constellation doesn't seem to have have a myth behind it, it does have a story. Hevelius, the astronomer who named Lynx, named the constellation after the lynx because it is barely visible against the night sky. He wrote in his book that only those who have the eyesight of a lynx can see it. We don't know if Hevelius had any myths in mind when he named the constellation, but there is a myth that might be linked to the constellation's name. Lynceus, who sailed with Jason and the Argonauts, was said to have the best eyesight of all men, and could even see things underground. He and his twin brother Idas were part of the expedition for the Golden Fleece, too.
Now, let's talk about Delphinus. Delphinus is the 69th constellation in size, occupying an area of 189 square degrees. "Dolphinus" means "the dolphin" in Latin. Dolphinus represents Poseidon's messenger. Poseidon met a Nereid named Amphitrite, and fell in love with her. But although Poseidon loved her, she resisted and fled to her sisters' home. Poseidon sent the dolphin to soothe her and bring her back. The two later got married. Poseidon decided to honor the dolphin by placing it among the stars. In another version, it was Apollo that placed it among the stars for saving the life of Arion, a famous poet and musician.
Pegasus is a mythical creature that lives in Olympus. It lies in the northern hemisphere, and occupies an area of 1121 square degrees. It is the seventh largest constellation in the sky. In Greek mythology, Pegasus is a white winged horse that emerged from Gorgon Medusa after Perseus decapitated her. Pegasus is derived from the Greek word perai, meaning springs, or waters. When he was born, Pegasus flew away to Mount Helicon in Boeotia, where the Muses lived, and he befriended them. The most famous myth involving Pegasus is the myth of Bellerophon, the hero sent to kill the Chimaera, a firebreathing monster. Bellerophon found Pegasus and tamed him using the golden bridle given to him by Athena, the goddess of war and wisdom. Then he slayed the monster from the sky with his bow and arrows.
Vulpecula is a constellation in the northern sky. It is the 55th constellation in size, occupying an area of 268 square degrees. It is located in the 4th quadrant of the nothern hemisphere (NQ4). Its name means "the little fox" in Latin. Vulpecula Is not a very well known constellation, it is not as popular as the zodiac constellations. Vulpecula, similar to Lynx, does not have a myth behind it, but it does have a story. It was introduced by Johannes Hevelius in 1687. Hevelius said that Vulpecula et Anser, or the little fox with the goose, represented a fox carrying a goose to Cerberus, the 3 headed dog that guarded the entrance to the Underworld. Hevelius had also invented the Cerberus constellation, but it's obsolete** now.
*circumpolar constellation: a constellation that never sets below the horizon.
**obsolete: no longer produced or used; out of date