Farmers Almanac
The Farmers Almanac
BUY The 2018 Almanac NOW!

Corvus: The Raven

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Add to Google+ Share on Pinterest Subscribe by Email Print This Post
Corvus: The Raven

Look up in the sky at night, and you may just see a raven. Not a real raven, mind you, but the constellation Corvus, a mythic raven immortalized in the heavens. Corvus is one of the original 48 constellations cataloged by the Second Century Greek astronomer Ptolemy, as well as one of 88 officially recognized modern constellations.Constellations

Corvus sits in the southern sky, surrounded by Virgo, Crater, and Hydra. There are only 11 visible stars in Corvus, four of which form its diamond shape, said to represent a raven in flight. Its name is Latin for raven or crow. Corvus is also popularly known as “the Sail,” because it resembles a sail from a ship.

Its four principal stars are Delta Corvi, or Algorab, Gamma Corvi, or Gienah Ghurab, Epsilon Corvi, or Minkar, and Beta Corvi, or Kraz. Delta and Gamma Corvi have long been used as pointers to find Spica.

Another noteworthy star in Corvus is 31 Crateris, so named because was originally considered part of neighboring Crater. This dim star was once mistaken for a moon of Mercury.

(Continued Below)

Corvus contains no Messier objects, but is home to three objects from the New General Catalogue: the galaxies NGC 4038 and NGC 4039 and the planetary nebula NGC 4361. The two galaxies are actually colliding, which gives them a unique heart shape, as viewed from Earth.

The raven has long been an animal steeped in myth. To the ancient Greeks, the bird was a sacred emblem of the god Apollo. According to legend, the raven was once a radiant white and could speak. That all changed when the god tasked the bird with fetching him some water. When the bird got distracted from his task and offered up a lame excuse for his failure, Apollo scorching his feathers black and reduced his once beautiful voice to a raspy croak.

Northwestern Native American tribes have a similar myth about the raven, who is a trickster hero. They say the bird, who once had bright feathers of many colors, stole the sun from the sky god to share with all of the Earth. In the process, they say, the sun charred the raven’s feathers and ruined its voice.

Articles you might also like...


1 Lisa { 05.14.12 at 10:13 am }

Hi Dawn: So, how did it go?? Could you see anything? =)

2 Dawn { 05.11.12 at 12:02 am }

Icouldnt wait to finish reading this so i could go check it out

Leave a Comment

Note: Comments that further the discussion of the above content are likely to be approved. Those comments that are vague or are simply submitted in order to promote a product, service or web site, although not necessarily considered "spam," are generally not approved.

If you notice a hole in the upper left-hand corner of your Farmers' Almanac, don't return it to the store! That hole isn't a defect; it's a part of history. Starting with the first edition of the Farmers' Almanac in 1818, readers used to nail holes into the corners to hang it up in their homes, barns, and outhouses (to provide both reading material and toilet paper). In 1919, the Almanac's publishers began pre-drilling holes in the corners to make it even easier for readers to keep all of that invaluable information (and paper) handy.

Spring Is Here – Sign Up Today!

The Farmers' Almanac is a gardener's best friend. Get 365 days of access to our online weather and gardening calendars + a copy of the 2017 Almanac
for only $13.99 $11.99!

Subscribe Today »