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Hydra. The Water Serpent. Hydrae. Located at 10 hours Right Ascension 20 degrees Declination Visible between 60 and -90 degrees latitude Best seen in April, at 9 pm. Named Star of Hydrae. The alpha star is Alphard. Myth of Hydra.

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hydra

Hydra

The Water Serpent

hydrae
Hydrae
  • Located at
    • 10 hours Right Ascension
    • 20 degrees Declination
    • Visible between 60 and -90 degrees latitude
    • Best seen in April, at 9 pm
named star of hydrae
Named Star of Hydrae

The alpha star is Alphard

myth of hydra
Myth of Hydra

As part as the 12 Labors of Hercules, the Hydra was to be slain.

A monster, with the body of a serpent, and many heads was the Hydra.

As the offspring of Typhon and Echidna, the monster was vicious, and therefore no one was able to slay it.

hydra s heads
Hydra’s Heads

Many sources say that the Serpent had 5 heads, when others said the beast had 100 heads. The accepted version of the story states that the monster had only 9 heads.

8 of those heads would grow back as two more heads if they were cut off. The ninth head was said to be immortal.

the immortal head
The immortal head

The ninth head was immortal, so after severing all the other heads and burning out their roots in the necks, he ripped the immortal head from the body. He then buried it deep and rolled a huge boulder over-top of it so nobody could happen upon the head ever again.

the battle of hercules and the hydra
The Battle of Hercules and the Hydra

Hercules fought the Hydra in the swamps of Lernea near Argolis. Whenever a head was cut off, two more heads would grow back! Knowing that he needed help, Hercules called on the help of Iolaus.

a friend to help
A friend to help

Iolaus had come to Hercules’ aid. As Hercules had severed the heads from the body, Iolaus had cauterized the headless necks. He had put a burning torch on the severed necks to keep the heads from growing back.

slaying of the hydra
Slaying of the Hydra

After all heads had been severed from the necks, the only head that remained was the immortal head. Throwing his sword aside, Hercules tore the immortal head from the last neck, and buried it under a large boulder.

arrows of hercules
Arrows of Hercules

After the beast was slain, Hercules dipped the tips of his arrows in the blood of the Hydra. Whatever wound the arrow tip would cause, would kill the victim.

death of hercules
Death of Hercules

Ironically, Hercules died by his own hand. After being wounded with an arrow of Hercules, a centaur, knowing he would die, wanted revenge. He gave the arrow to Hercules’ wife, and told her to smear the blood on his robe and it would make him love her more.

death of hercules1
Death of Hercules

Agreeing with the dyeing centaur, Hercules wife gave him the robe. Because of the venom-fused blood, as Hercules put on the robe, his skin began to burn. He tried to free himself of the robe, but the venom had attached it to his skin. Hercules died by the very creature he had slain many years before. The Hydra of Lernea.