Lyra

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Lyra

(lī`rə) [Lat.,=the lyre], northern constellationconstellation,
in common usage, group of stars that appear to form a configuration in the sky; properly speaking, a constellation is a definite region of the sky in which the configuration of stars is contained.
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 lying S of Draco, E of Hercules, and W of Cygnus. Although many civilizations represented it as a bird, it was also depicted as a tortoise. The white star VegaVega
, brightest star in the constellation Lyra; Bayer designation Alpha Lyrae; 1992 position R.A. 18h36.7m, Dec. +38°47'. A white main-sequence star of spectral class A0 V, its apparent magnitude is 0.1, making it the fifth brightest star in the sky.
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 (Alpha Lyrae), the brightest star in the constellation, is one of the brightest in the entire sky. Just NE of Vega is Epsilon Lyrae, one of the few double stars that can be resolved with the naked eye. Also in Lyra is the Ring Nebula, the most famous of the planetary nebulae, consisting of a shell of gas separated from and expanding from a central star. Lyra reaches its highest point in the evening sky in August.

Lyra

(lÿ -ră) (Lyre) A constellation in the northern hemisphere east of Cygnus, lying partly in the Milky Way, the brightest star being the blue zero-magnitude Vega. It contains the prototype of the RR Lyrae stars, the eclipsing binary Beta (β) Lyrae (see W Serpentis star), and the naked-eye pair Epsilon (Ɛ) Lyrae, both of 4th magnitude and both double. It also contains the planetary Ring nebula and a small globular cluster M56 (NGC 6779). Abbrev.: Lyr; genitive form: Lyrae; approx. position: RA 18.5h, dec +40°; area: 286 sq deg.

Lyra

 

or lira. (1) A medieval single-stringed bowed instrument with a pear-shaped body. It became prevalent in the eighth and ninth centuries and was last mentioned in the literature of the 13th century.

(2) A stringed bowed instrument that developed in Italy in the 16th and 17th centuries, somewhat similar to a violin. Several types existed: the lira da braccio (soprano) and lirone da braccio (alto) had five playing strings and one or two bourdon strings; the lira da gamba (baritone) had nine to 13 strings; and the lirone perfetto (bass) had ten to 14.

(3) The wheel lyra, or hurdy-gurdy, is a stringed folk instrument that is either boat-shaped or shaped like a figure eight. Inside the body is a wheel that is operated by turning a handle. The protruding wheel touches the strings and causes them to sound as it is turned. The number of strings varies. The middle, or melody, string passes through a box with a mechanism to change its pitch. The remaining two or four strings are bourdon strings for accompaniment.

In the Middle Ages the hurdy-gurdy, then called the organistrum, was widespread. It also existed under various names among the peoples of Western Europe and the USSR. It was known in Russia from the 17th century; it was played by wandering musicians and blind balladeers. It is rarely encountered in the 20th century.

(4) The cavalry lyra consists of a set of metal bars hung from a lyre-shaped metal frame decorated with horsetails. It is beaten with a metal striker and played in cavalry bands.

G. I. BLAGODATOV

Lyra

[′lī·rə]
(astronomy)
A northern constellation; right ascension 19 hours, declination 40° north; its first-magnitude star, Vega, is a navigational star and the most brilliant star in this part of the sky.