|Winter: Orion Canis Major Canis Minor Monoceros Lepus Eridanus Taurus Auriga Camelopardalis Lynx Gemini Cancer|
|Spring: Hydra Sextans Crater Corvus Leo Leo Minor Ursa Major Ursa Minor Canes Venatici Coma Berenices Virgo Bootes|
|Summer: Draco Corona Borealis Hercules Ophiuchus Serpens Libra Scorpius Sagittarius Scutum Aquila Sagitta Vulpecula Lyra Cygnus|
|Autumn: Andromeda Perseus Pegasus Cassiopeia Cephus Cetus Lacerta Delphinus Equuleus Capricornus Aquarius Pisces Aries|
|Southern Skies: Centaurus Crux Lupus Corona Australis Piscis Australis Sculptor Tucana Fornax Dorado Columba Puppis Carina Vela|
Corvus, the crow, used to have silvery white feathers, and a sweet, musical song. He was the favourite bird of Apollo, the Sun god. One day, Apollo gave the crow his goblet, and asked him to fetch some water. On his way to the stream, the crow saw a fig tree, and stopped to eat some figs. But the figs weren't quite ripe, so the crow waited for the figs to ripen, neglecting his instructions from Apollo. When he finally returned with the water, he made up a story about a fearsome snake that wouldn't let him near the water for a long time. Apollo, being a god, saw through the lie at once, and punished the crow by turning it black, taking away its sweet voice, and putting it into the heavens, on the back of the most fearsome snake of all, Hydra, the many headed water snake, who had battled the mighty Hercules. Apollo also put his goblet (now known as the constellation Crater,) on the back of the snake just out of the crow's reach, to forever remind him why he was being punished. Now for all eternity, the crow rides the back of the giant snake, his long pointed bill perpetually stabbing at the snake, in a futile effort to escape his doom.
Corvus may be a small constellation, but the five stars that compose the figure of the crow (sometimes referred to as the sail) are quite bright, and have all possessed names since ancient times. Algorab, with a magnitude of 2.95, comes from the Arabic al-ghuraab, which simply means the crow. It is 87 light years from Earth. Gienah Ghurab, with a magnitude of 2.59, is the brightest star in the constellation. Its name is also derived from the Arabic for wing of the crow. It is 165 light years away. Minkor has a magnitude of 3.0, and comes from the Arabic for nostril. It is 303 light years away. Alchiba, is designated as the alpha star in the constellation, although with a magnitude of only 4.02, it is actually the faintest of the five stars that outline the crow, which suggests that in ancient times it was much brighter. Although in classical illustrations it represents the beak of the crow, the name derives from the Arabic al hibaa, which means the tent.
Finally we have the star Kraz, known more fully as Kraz in Becvar. It has a magnitude of 2.65, and is 140 light years away. Its name is a bit of a mystery. Anne Wright's Constellations of Words suggests it is taken from the Latin cras, meaning tomorrow, which apparently gave rise to the word procrastinate, and since the fabled Corvus could be thought of as the original procrastinator, for which he paid dearly, it certainly fits. The full name of the star, Kraz in Becvar, could quite likely refer to the famous Czech astronomer, Antonín Becvár (1901-1965), who was known for his state-of-the-art star charts, and had both a comet and a crater on the Moon named after him.
Corvus also contains some fascinating deep sky objects. The most spectacular is a pair of galaxies (NGC 4038-4039), whose mutual gravitational attraction has pulled them together in a wild, passionate dance that's been going on for 100 million years, as they slowly merge, and become one. They are known as the Antennae galaxies, or the Ring Tail galaxies, with a magnitude of 11.2, about 63 million light years from Earth.
Just under the Antennae galaxies is NGC 4027 (Arp22), an unusual spiral galaxy with only one long spiral arm. It has an apparent magnitude of 11.7, and is about 75 million light years away.
In the middle of the constellation is the bright planetary nebula NGC 4361, a bubble of gas thrown off by a dying star. It is a faint object, with a magnitude of only 10.9, and is 3,900 light years from Earth.