How to Find and Identify the Zodiac Constellation Libra

Written by john lindell
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Libra the Scales is one of the hardest of the Zodiac constellations to find for the novice stargazer. The Zodiac constellations are 12 star groupings that lie on the ecliptic, which is the path the sun appears to take across the sky. Originally part of the much more recognisable Scorpius (the Scorpion) constellation, Libra is the only Zodiac constellation to represent a nonliving thing, the Scales of Justice. Learn how to find the Zodiac constellation Libra.

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  1. 1

    Pick a dark and crystal clear night in late spring or early summer in the northern hemisphere. There are no bright stars whatsoever in this constellation, making it hard to find and identify under the best of circumstances.

  2. 2

    Find the scorpion of the skies to locate Libra. The constellation Scorpius is used as a guide to find Libra. Containing the red giant star Antares, Scorpius hangs close to the horizon and resembles a scorpion. Libra was part of Scorpius until early Roman astronomers took the “scorpion’s claws” and grouped them into the scales instead. Once you find Scorpius, look to the right of it--this is the area where Libra is.

  3. 3

    Look for a triangle of dim stars. This is the upper part of the scales that connects the two balances. It is tilted on its side with the longest side of the triangle facing Scorpius, which would be to Libra's left. Remember, the scales aren’t hanging straight down but off to the left.

  4. 4

    Imagine the two scales hanging off the triangle at an angle. The rest of Libra’s stars are even fainter than the ones that make up the triangle. They extend outward from two of the stars on the triangle’s base. There are three stars that comprise one of the scales on the upper part and two that make up the scales on the lower one.

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