n MNASSA : Monthly Notes of the Astronomical Society of South Africa - Crater, a cup full of Stars : sky delights

Volume 74, Issue 1_2
  • ISSN : 0024-8266



The constellation Crater is one with a very strange name, but when one thinks more about the name it could have several meanings. The one, and perhaps the most familiar, is that ancient Apollo sent the crow Corvus with a goblet to fetch him some water, but wasted time on his way eating figs from a fig tree. Corvus then used Hydra the water snake as an excuse. In his rage, Apollo sent the crow, cup and water snake into the sky. But the cup would have been one of the first household articles humans would have used early on, and is therefore probably deserving of a place of honour in the starry skies. Although this U-shaped pattern of stars no brighter than magnitude 3.5 suggests a wine goblet named by the early Greeks, it surely lives up to its name.

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