Costellazione Corvo, stelle principali e mitologia

28 Set 2017

OSR blog post

Quella del Corvo è una costellazione mediamente piccola che si trova nei pressi di quella della Vergine. Osservata già da Tolomeo, questa costellazione ha origini decisamente antiche. Ma vediamo di scendere più nel dettaglio e di scoprire quali sono le stelle che la compongono e quale è la mitologia alla base del suo nome.

Stelle principali

Regarding the stars that make up this constellation it is necessary to keep in mind that they are not that bright. Suffice it to say that the brightest is the Gamma star, classified as a blue star and whose magnitude is 2.6. Another star that forms the constellation Corvus is Alpha which has a magnitude of 4 and, therefore, is not the brightest.

Also part of the constellation Corco is the star Delta with a magnitude of 3. In this case, we are dealing with a so-called double yellow star. As regards the observation phase, it is essential to take into account the fact that it is a spring constellation which, therefore, passes through the meridian only in the first days of March. Furthermore, it must be noted that it is not even too high in relation to the southern horizon. This is because it moves south with respect to both the constellations of Leo and Virgo.

Although it is not one of the brightest constellations and considering that its magnitude is 2.5, it is still very easy to see thanks to its brightness. Among other things, it is easily visible also because the four stars that form it give rise to an almost perfect square and, therefore, not at all difficult to identify.

Mythology

The constellation in question took the name of Corvus in reference to the bird that the god of poetry and music Apollo always carried with him. According to the myth, Apollo himself asked the raven to fetch some water of life and put it in a cup. As soon as he left, the crow was completely white.

During the journey, however, he perched on a fig tree to wait for the fruits to ripen. As soon as he returned, he faced the arduous task of explaining the reason for his delay and he tried to blame it on a snake. Apollo, for his part, did not believe the raven’s version and was quite angry. His anger soon turned into a desire for revenge, so much so that he decided to transform the crow into a completely black bird as well as condemning it to perpetual thirst.

In other versions of the myth it is said that the punishment inflicted on him by Apollo stipulated that once a year during the ripening of the fruits of the fig tree the crow would not have the possibility of drinking from any kind of spring or from the foundations . After inflicting this harsh punishment on him, Apollo sends him to heaven to guard the Cup together with the Hydra which, according to mythological tradition, is nothing more than a serpent and, therefore, represents the snake blamed in the lie by Apollo. Regarding the cup, it is necessary to specify that it is the constellation Crater.

Regarding the constellation Corvus, it is also useful to point out that there is also another mythology worthy of note. In this case, a love story is told in which Apollo had such strong feelings for Chorion, Aesculapius’ mother, that he asked the raven to inform him about what the woman had done. Despite the fact that what the raven told was certainly not positive, Apollo himself decided to reward the animal by giving it a place in heaven.

Curiosity

As mentioned previously, the constellation Corvus is decidedly very small and is part of the 88 so-called modern constellations. Furthermore, one must also take into account the fact that it was also among the 48 listed by Ptolemy himself. In addition to the mythology from which it derives, the Corvus constellation is also very particular due to its specific characteristics which make it unique to say the least.

The size of this constellation is small, it is true, but it is still clearly visible especially because it is located in an area of ​​the sky where there are not many particularly bright stars. For this reason, it is a constellation that is easily observable even from particularly well-lit areas such as, for example, cities or, much more generally, all urban areas. Inside the constellation Corvus there are stars that seem to form a true so-called square. Others, however, point straight towards Spica, a blue star that belongs to the nearby constellation Virgo. Regarding the constellation Corvus, it is useful to point out that it is located in the southern hemisphere, just south of the Equator.

Typically, this constellation is seen very well in the early evening and, in the Northern Hemisphere, in the months from the end of February to the first half of July. As regards, then, the observation of the constellation Corvus in the northern hemisphere, it is essential to point out that in some moments it can be penalized above all by the fact that the hours of darkness decrease drastically with the arrival of spring. Precisely in spring, therefore, the maximum visibility of the constellation Corvo occurs immediately after the sunset phase. It seems clear, therefore, that those who find themselves in the southern hemisphere in order to be able to observe this wonderful celestial figure need only wait for the arrival of the autumn months.