This outstanding summer group is one of the most easily recognizable constellations in the sky, hanging like a jewel close to the Milky Way, a companion of Cygnus and equally of interest. Lyra, the "Lyre" apparently is a group that celebrates the invention of this musical instrument, or as legend would have it, represents the lyre of the famed musician Orpheus; his music was endowed with such power and beauty that he could enchant man and beast with his playing. Good musician though he was, he was not much of a listener, as the tale of Orpheus and his wife Eurydice bears out. Briefly, Eurydice died, killed by jealous goddesses who only wanted Orpheus to play for them. Upon her death, Orpheus begged Hades, the ruler of the underworld to release her from death, as he loved her so much. To assist his decision making, Orpheus plated a medley of tunes in the underworld for him and Hades relented, under the condition that Orpheus did not look behind him as he travelled up into the world of men again. Orpheus disobeyed and turned to look back just as he was about to step out of the cave leading to the underworld, and lost Eurydice forever due to his lack of trust. Orpheus wandered about distraught at this loss and in shock, wandered at night into a feast of Bacchus and was torn to pieces by the enraged and wine drenched mob. His lyre, eventually discovered amongst the crowd was taken by the god Apollo and placed in the sky in honour of Orpheus' music.

Notable Objects

The bright star Vega, the planetary nebula Messier 57.