Star Names:

Corvus


Map of The Constellation of Corvus
Please hover over any star to get more information
Corvus is a small constellation in the southern hemisphere. Its name means "raven" or "crow" in Latin. It was one of the 48 constellations created by the Greek astronomer Ptolemy in the 2nd century.

Corvus is associated with several Greek myths involving the crow, the sacred bird of Apollo, which originally had beautiful silver or white feathers. In one story, Apollo ordered the crow to watch Coronis, his pregnant love, to make sure she was not being unfaithful. Coronis, however, was attracted to a mortal man and when the crow delivered the news to the god, Apollo became angry and turned the bird's feathers black and took away its ability to speak. Apollo's sister Arthemis killed Coronis. Apollo and Coronis' child, Asclepius, eventually became known as the god of healing.

In another story, Apollo dispatched the raven to fill his cup (Crater) with water. The bird came back several days later, having waited for some figs to ripen so that it could feast on them, and brought back the cup and a water snake (Hydra), blaming its tardiness on the snake. Apollo saw through the lie and condemned the bird to a life of thirst, which is said to be the reason why the crow has such a rasping call. To commemorate the incident, Apollo placed the crow (Corvus), the cup (Crater) and the water snake (Hydra) together in the sky. The Chinese knew the constellation as Zhen, part of a chariot.

The Corvus constellation occupies an area of 184 square degrees and does not contain any stars with known planets. It can be seen at latitudes between +60° and -90° and is best visible at 9 p.m. during the month of May.

Corvus contains only 11 stars visible to the naked eye. The brightest star in the constellation is [2958] gamma Corvi or Gienah (from the Arabic phrase for "the right wing of the crow"), a name that it shares with [3069] epsilon Cygni. It is a blue-white giant that lies approximately 165 light-years away.

[2962] alpha Corvi or Alchiba (Arabic for "tent"), also known as "the Right Linchpin" in Chinese, is a suspected spectroscopic binary. With a magnitude of 4.02, it is less bright than [2959] beta, [2958] gamma, [2960] delta and even [2961] epsilon Corvi.

Four stars in Corvus – [2959] beta, [2960] delta, [2958] gamma and [2961] epsilon Corvi – form an asterism called the Sail. [2959] beta Corvi, also known as Kraz, is the second brightest star in the constellation. It is a G-type bright giant star that lies about 140 light-years away from Earth.

[2960] delta Corvi or Algorab is the third brightest star in Corvus. As with Gienah, its name derives from the Arabic phrase meaning "the raven’s wing." Algorab is in fact a pair of stars, consisting of a white class B star with a magnitude of 2.95 and an orange class K star with a magnitude 8.51. The contrast between the yellowish and lilac colour makes the star system interesting to observe.

[2961] epsilon Corvi is also known as Minkar, from "Al Minkar al Ghurab," or "the Raven’s Beak." It is a class K giant about 303 light-years distant and has apparent magnitude of 3.02.

Star [2966] 31 Crateris, with an apparent visual magnitude of 5.2, was once mistaken for a moon of Mercury.

The constellation Corvus does not have any Messier objects. The centre of the constellation contains the planetary nebula NGC 4361, which resembles a faint elliptical galaxy, with a magnitude 13 star at the core.

Corvus is also home to the Antennae Galaxies, a peculiar, heart-shaped deep sky object that consists of two galaxies, NGC 4038 and NGC 4039, currently undergoing a collision. As a result of the collision, both galaxies have long tails of stars, dust and gas, resembling an insect’s antennae. The Antennae Galaxies are approximately 45 million light-years distant from Earth and they illustrate a likely future of the Milky Way and the Andromeda Galaxy when they collide.

Corvus belongs to the Hercules family of constellations, along with Hercules, Sagitta, Aquila, Lyra, Cygnus, Vulpecula, Hydra, Sextans, Crater, Ophiuchus, Serpens, Scutum, Centaurus, Lupus, Corona Australis, Ara, Triangulum Australe and Crux.

Constellations directly bordering Corvus are Virgo, Crater and Hydra.




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