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Meet Corvus the Crow

One of my favorite constellations, little squarish Corvus the Crow, can be found in the south after sunset at this time of year. It’s not far from the bright star Spica – brightest light in the constellation Virgo. Learn more about how to find Spica.

Once you find Spica in spring of any year, you’ll recognize the constellation Corvus. It’s always near the star Spica on the sky’s dome. It’s recognizable for its compact, boxy shape.

Spica is supposed to represent an Ear of Wheat, held by Virgo the Maiden. If you have a good imagination, and if you’re looking in a dark-enough sky, it almost looks as if Corvus were indeed a real crow, pecking toward Spica, trying to snatch the wheat. And thus the stories of the heavens were born …

Extend the handle of the Big Dipper to locate the stars Arcturus and Spica.

In any year, you can use the handle of the Big Dipper to locate the stars Arcturus and Spica.

Corvus is an easy and fun constellation to pick out in the sky, and so there are many legends in skylore about it. In Greek mythology, Corvus was seen as the cupbearer to Apollo, god of the sun. In ancient Israel, Corvus wasn’t a crow. Instead, it was seen as a raven. In China, this grouping of stars had more distinction as an imperial chariot, riding on the wind.

Corvus is a friendly sight in the heavens. Along with all the stars, Corvus’s stars will be found a bit farther west at nightfall in the coming weeks and months as Earth moves around the sun. Check it out now and watch for it in the next few months.

The bright star Spica – near Corvus on our sky’s dome – will always be there to guide your eye.

Bottom line: Use the star Spica to introduce yourself to the constellation Corvus the Crow.

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Deborah Byrd