Corvus – the crow

August 27, 2017

Astronomy

The constellation Corvus represents a crow. I sort of wish it was associated with a crow story from one of the American Indian tribes. The Indian stories about crows are so much more dignified, glorious even.

Crows and ravens in the Americas are wise and always doing great things like stealing fire from the gods and giving it to humans, or stealing the sun from the gods and giving it to humans, basically stealing stuff from the gods and giving it to humans. I think they feel sorry for humans. Crows and ravens are the smartest and wisest of all the creatures. Humans are like twelfth or something. The reason might be that these birds eat all sorts of dead animals and thus gain the wisdom of each species and amalgamate it into their own. Humans eat a lot of hamburgers so we have gained the wisdom of cows.

The crow in the stars was once office manager to the gods. One day Apollo needed some water for a godly purpose so he gave his special cup to Crow and sent him to get some water. It seemed simple enough. Here. Cup. Go get water. Anyway Crow flies off and spends the next couple of days eating figs and sleeping under a fig tree, and eating more figs, and basically inventing the modern standard protocols of middle management. He eventually returns with the special cup, now full of water, and also a dead snake because oh hey, Apollo, check out this dead snake while I fill out my time card.

Apollo gets extremely angry of course although it’s hard to be certain since extreme anger is the natural state of gods. He throws Crow, the snake, and the cup into the sky. Now, I understand tossing Crow, after all he caused an important meeting to be rescheduled. And the dead snake, sure, who could pass up the opportunity to fling a dead snake. But the special cup? Come on. It’s a cup. It’s special. You still have all these godly rituals to get through and now there’s no cup. An American Indian crow would have stolen the cup and given it to the humans.

There is a nice big interesting galaxy on the southern border of Virgo called the Sombrero, aka M104. It’s hard to tell if it belongs in the constellation of Virgo or Corvus. It’s right on the fence. Maybe it’s in the process of climbing over, or tunneling under, I don’t know. If it wants in I say let it in, just sign the guest book is all.

Unlike the high contrast photos, the Sombrero galaxy in an amateur telescope shows mostly only the upper portion of the disk and central bulge, giving it a distinctive look like one of those hats. You know, the kind that Mexicans throw on the ground and dance around while trying not to stomp it flat. I was never good at that which is why I prefer to use a beret.

Carpe Noctem

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