Crater Constellation: Facts & Myths

The southern sky has some constellations one of them being the crater constellation. The meaning of crater in Latin is ‘the cup’ as this constellation is quite. It has a few deep sky objects, and most of the galaxies that can be found in the crater are quite faint. Like the Triangulum Australe and the Corona Australis, crater also belongs to the Hercules family of the constellation. Other notable constellations of the Hercules family being the AraCentaurusCruxHerculesHydraLyraScutumSextansSerpens and Vulpecula. There are no Messier objects, and the brightest star in the constellation is the Delta Crateris.

Where is the Crater located?

This is the 53rd constellation regarding size, which occupies an area of 282 square degrees. The crater is located in the second quadrant at a latitude of +65 degrees and -90 degrees; Corvus, Hydra, Leo, Virgo and Sextans constellations being its neighbors. It is known to have three stars with planets and no Messier objects. Delta Crateris being the brightest star in this constellation.

Mythology associated with crater constellation

There are several myths associated with the Crater constellation, one of them being that according to the Greek mythology this constellation is known to represent a cup belonging to God Apollo. So this constellation is somewhere associated with God Apollo’s story and his sacred bird supposedly a raven. It is said that God Apollo had sent the raven to fetch some water for performing a ritual, but the bird got distracted by a fig tree; spending a few days resting and waiting for the figs to ripen. After the figs are ripened, then the sacred bird finally brings water to god Apollo, along with a water snake as an excuse for being late. Apollo could see the lie in the bird’s eye because of which he casts a spell and turns all the three into the cup, the water snake, and the raven into the sky as constellations.

The deep sky objects in the crater

  • NGC 3887- This is an 11th magnitude galaxy with a diameter of 3.5’. This galaxy is a degree and a half away from the star Zeta Crateris and has a magnitude of 10.7.
  • NGC 3511- This is a spiral galaxy which has a magnitude of 11.1, and it belongs to the Abell 1060 galaxy cluster. This galaxy was discovered by William Herschel in
  • NGC 3513- This spiral galaxy has a magnitude of 12 and is some 46 million light years away from the earth.
  • NGC 3981- At a magnitude of 12 this spiral galaxy has two spiral arms which are wide, and it is 80 million light years distant from the Earth. This Galaxy was discovered by William Herschel in
  • Crater 2- This is a dwarf galaxy that is known to orbit around the Milky Way, and it is the fourth largest dwarf that orbits the galaxy. The crater was discovered in the year 2016 and has been nicknamed ‘the feeble giant’.