Constellation Libra (Scales)

Libra: IAU Constellation Map [150]


Libra is a small, less conspicuous ecliptic constellation and lies west of the prominent star formation around Antares. One can easily imagine the outstretched claws of the beautiful summer constellation Scorpio in the stars. With a little more imagination you can also recognize a beam balance. The area of the constellation is 538 square degrees and the center culminates around midnight on May 9th. [9, 15]

Stars with Proper Names [154]
α2 Lib Zuben Elgenubi, Zubenelgenubi, Kiffa Australis, Elkhiffa Australis
β Lib Zuben Elschemali, Zuben Eschamali, Zuben El Chamali, Zubenesch, Zubenelg, Kiffa Borealis
γ Lib Zuben Elakrab, Zuben Hakraki, Zuben El Hakrabi
δ Lib Zuben Elakribi
σ Lib Brachium, Cornu, Zuben El Genubi, Zuban Al Akrab, Zuben Hakrabi
Data for constellation Libra [150]
IAU NameLibra
IAU GenitiveLibrae
IAU Abbr.Lib
English NameScales
Opposition10 May
Season (47° N)March … June
Right Ascension14h 21m 38s … 16h 02m 17s
Declination-29° 59' 42" … +00° 28' 27"
Area538 deg2
Neighbours (N↻)Ser, Vir, Hya, Cen, Lup, Sco, Oph

Deep-Sky Object Descriptions


Mythology and History

Scorpius + Libra
Scorpius + Libra: Complete Scorpius constellation before Caesar, when Scorpio still had claws [265]

The ancient Greeks still counted the area where the constellation Libra is today to Scorpius and saw Scorpio's claws here. This is where the Arabic star names come from. During Julius Caesar's lifetime, the Romans separated into this area and formed the independent constellation and zodiac sign Libra. This happened in honor of Julius Caesar because of his contribution to the reform of the Roman calendar and his proverbial justice. The scales are seen as a symbol of justice and are held up by Astraea, the goddess of law. A legend connects Astraea with the neighboring constellation Virgo. [7, 21, 59]

Constellation Libra
Constellation Libra: Illustration from «Uranometria» by Johann Bayer, copper engraving by Alexander Mair, 1603 [28]


  • [7] «Der grosse Kosmos-Himmelsführer» von Ian Ridpath und Wil Tirion; Kosmos Verlag; ISBN 3-440-05787-9
  • [9] «Drehbare Sternkarte SIRIUS» von H. Suter-Haug; Hallwag-Verlag, Bern
  • [15] «Hartung's Astronomical Objects for Southern Telescopes» by David Malin and David J. Frew; Melbourne University Press 1995; ISBN 0-522-84553-3
  • [21] «Taschenatlas der Sternbilder» von Josef Klepesta und Antonin Rükl; Verlag Werner Dausien; ISBN 3-7684-2384-0
  • [28] «Uranometria omnium asterismorum continens schemata, nova methodo delineata aereis laminis expressa» Johann Bayer, Augsburg, 1603; DOI:10.3931/e-rara-309
  • [59] Eye On The Sky: Libra by Deborah Byrd; Astronomy 5/93, p.48
  • [150] IAU: The Constellations, 11. Oktober 2020;
  • [154] Yale Bright Star Catalog, 15. Oktober 2020;
  • [265] PP3 - Celestial Chart Generation, Torsten Bronger; (2021-02-11)