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The (Lesser or Little) Water Snake

Constellation of the southern sky

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Constellation FamilyBayer
Celestial QuadrantSQ1
Right Ascension0h06 to 4h35
Declination-57.85° to -82.06°
Area (sq deg)243
Brightest StarBeta Hydri
Optimum VisibilityNovember (Usually visible from southern latitudes)
NotesHydrus was intended to represent an actual water snake rather than the mythical Hydra depicted in its own much larger constellation elsewhere in the sky. These two similarly-named constellations are distinguished by grammatical gender in Greek: Hydrus is masculine, while Hydra is feminine. The genitive forms for the two names follow the same pattern: Hydri is used for objects in Hydrus, while Hydrae applies to objects within the boundaries of Hydra.
Map of Hydrus Map of Hydrus
Relative Galactic Position of Hydrus

The thin constellation shape of Hydrus defines a 'slice' of space southward of the main disc of the Milky Way.

Since antiquity, the large and rich equatorial constellation of Hydra. In the sixteenth century, a second such creature was added to the sky, defining the Lesser Water Snake in this small region between the two Magellanic Clouds.


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