Libra, The Scales, is a faint Springtime constellation with several binocular objects of interest. To find alpha Librae (Zubenelgenubi) look south in the wee hours of early May. Spica (alpha Virginis) will be to the southwest and Antares to the southeast. Draw a line between these two stars. Midway along this line, and very slightly north, is Zubenelgenubi.
Alpha Librae has a name reminiscent of something out of Star Wars-- Zubenelgenubi --‘The Southern Claw of the Scorpion’, which reminds us that the constellation was once part of Scorpius. It's a splendid binocular double with a colour contrast, yellow and pale blue. The primary is alpha2: 2.8, 5.2 with a position angle of 314º and separation 231". The star is midway between Spica (alpha Virginis) and Antares (alpha Scorpii). If you put Zubenelgenubi at the bottom of your glasses you'll see this configuration.
Beta Librae is Zubeneschamali, The Northern Claw of the Scorpion. Beta's claim to notoriety lies in the fact that most observers see a greenish tinge to the star, one of the few bright stars with such properties. To find the star, from alpha Librae move up to the 6th-mag xi stars (in the same field as alpha) which curve to the east. Follow the curve to beta.
Iota Librae is a multiple system in which the principle companion is a wide double: 4.5, 9.5; PA 111º and separation 59". The star is about eight degrees southeast of alpha. If you place it at the top of your glasses you also find sigma, to the south. Iota is a nice multiple system enjoyed in medium to large telescopes. For binoculars, in the same field as iota, the star to the northeast is 25 Librae, which is probably associated with iota as it has a similar proper motion.
Binocular Menu - Main Menu
Data Table - Bible Verses