A noble constellation lying next north of Ophiuchus, and is bounded on the west by Serpens, Corona, and Bootes, while to the east lie Aquila, Lyra, and Cygnus.
On the north is Draco. The hero, Hercules, is represented as resting on one knee, with his foot on the head of Draco, while his head is close to that of Ophiuehus. The constellation contains no stars of the first or even of the second magnitude, but a number of the third.
[hide][top]Finding Hercules The Constellation in the Sky
The scattered stars between Corona Borealis and Vega constitute the constellation Hercules. None of the stars is very conspicuous. The southernmost one, in the head of the hero, is called
This constellation is East of Bootes, North of Ophiucus, and South of Draco, contains 113 discernible stars, and is represented on the globe as a man in an inverted position, kneeling, holding a club in one hand, and the three-headed Cerberus in the other. The principal star is Korneforos — a pale yellow star of the 2nd magnitude in the West shoulder, situated 32° East from Arcturus, 35° Southwest.from Etanin, and 14° Southeast by East from Alphecca, in line with Rasalague.
The constellation of Hercules is a very rich field for the possessor of even a small telescope. Here are to be found beautifully colored double stars in profusion, and, in addition, two remarkable clusters of stars.
The best cluster is the Great Hercules Cluster, or M13 a globular cluster.
Notable objects include
Hercules was one of the most celebrated of the ancient demigods and was the son of Jupiter and Alcmena. While yet a babe in his cradle but eight months old, the jealous Juno sent two serpents to destroy him, but he strangled them. After he was grown he accomplished many feats of strength. Jupiter bound him to the service of King Eurystheus for twelve years, after which he was to have a place among the gods. This king imposed on him twelve tasks, known as the Twelve Labors of Hercules, the last of which was to bring to earth the three-headed dog Cerebus, which guarded the entrance to Hades. He died at length from wearing a poisoned tunic, given him by his jealous wife, and was translated to the skies. He is pictured with his head toward the south, his foot on the head of the Dragon, with the skin of the Nemaean lion over his shoulder, and the head of Cerebus in his hand.