The Watersnake (female)
The Brighter Stars of Hydra
The monstrous Hydra figures in the second Labor of Hercules.
No Problem Losing Its Head...
The Hydra was a multiheaded snakelike monster that lived in the marshes near the town of Lerna. The Hydra was the result of a mating between the monster Typhon and the Echidna, which was a creature that was half snake and half woman. The Hydra was difficult to kill, because when one head was cut off, two more heads grew back out of the stump of the old one.
Slaying the Hydra
Hercules was able to slay the monster with the aid of his charioteer Iolaus, who burned the stumps with a torch as Hercules cut off the heads of the monster. It was said that one of the heads of the monster was immortal. So after cutting off that head, Hercules buried it under a large rock.
The Poison Arrows
After slaying the monster, Hercules cut open its body and soaked the heads of this arrows in the poisonous blood of the monster's body.
Distance (Light Years) 177.3 ± 7.5
Visual Magnitude 1.99
Color (B-V) 1.44
Names For This Star
Other names for this star are Alfard, Alphart, Kalbelaphard, or Cor Hydrae. The last of these names is Latin meaning "The Hydra's Heart." This was the designation of this star first introduced by the great sixteenth century astronomer Tycho Brahe. The other names for this star derive from the Arabic phrase Al Fard al Shuja, meaning "The Solitary One in the Serpent."
Description of the Star
Alphard is an orange K3II-III subgiant or giant.