The Hydra was a mighty monster and is living with the stars.
The Hydra constellation is the largest of the eighty-eight constellations in the night sky. Its brightest star, Alphard, is known as the “Heart of the Hydra.” It has a magnitude of one point ninety-eight, or two. The constellation is not one of the brightest in the sky but it takes up a space of one thousand three hundred three square degrees in the night sky, between the latitude of fifty-four degrees to negative eight-three degrees. It takes a full seven hours for it to rise at night. There are two meteor showers associated with the Hydra, Alpha Hydrids and Sigma Hydrids. ("April Constellations.", "Hydra, a Constellation for Autumn.", "Hydra Constellation.")
The mythological Hydra was much scarier than the constellation is. It lived by Lerna in Argolis, regularly terrorizing the countryside. The many heads it had would regularly eat cattle and any people it found. Eight of the nine Hydra heads where able to be destroyed by weapons, however, two more would grow back in the place of the destroyed one. The ninth head was golden and indestructible, it could not be harmed by any weapons known to man. It was the child of Echnida, a half women half serpent monster, and Typhon, who had one hundred heads. Alternatively, it was the child of Styx, the river, and the Titan, Pallas. The grandparents of the Hydra would be the unkillables Uranus, the ruler of the skies, and Gaea, or mother earth. In turn the parent of Uranus would be mother earth. The parent of mother earth would be Chaos. ("Hydra.")
The Hydra had lived for many hundreds of thousands of years by the time Heracles had come around to kill it. The killing of the Hydra was Heracles’ second labor of twelve. He had to travel to Lerna to defeat the Hydra. He rode to Lerna to kill the Hydra with his nephew and Charioteer, Iolaus. Iolaus was one of the best charioteers around and had won many races and challenges. When they arrived at the town of Lerna, they went to the cave of the Hydra and Heracles smoked it out with burning arrows. When the Hydra came out of the cave, Heracles began to fight it by decapitating each head he came across. The breath of the Hydra was very toxic and so was the blood so Heracles had trouble breathing while he fought the Hydra. During the fight, Hera, the wife of Zeus, who hated Heracles, sent a giant crab during the battle to aid the Hydra. It nipped at the heels of Heracles and he crushed it under his foot. When he had finished off the crab, he found a way to deal with the Hydra problem. He yelled to his nephew to bring him a burning torch so that he could cauterize the wounds as soon as he cut off a head. This prevented...