EYES TO THE SKY May 13 – 26, 2019

On springtime evenings in the Northern Hemisphere, extend the handle of the Big Dipper to arc to Arcturus, spike Spica and slide into the constellation Corvus the Crow.
This arc is sometimes called the spring semicircle.
The Crow’s bill is pointed toward the Virgin’s jewel, Spica, as if it were waiting for a chance to grab it. H.A. Rey*
At nightfall, Corvus the Crow, wings outstretched, glides in the sky above the cityscape to the south. Latin for crow, or raven, Corvus’ four main stars form a diamond that is easily seen as a soaring bird, kite or sail. In Greek mythology, the Crow, Apollo’s sacred bird, got into trouble that resulted in the god catapulting the offender and his companions into the sky.
This evening, the waxing gibbous moon appears above and to the right of Corvus.
Corvus Constellation Map
IAU and Sky&Telescope magazine

Tomorrow, Corvus is directly below the moon. On Wednesday, Luna is positioned above bright star Spica, which is to the left of the Crow. Spica is the most reliable guide to locating the Crow when there is no moon to guide us to the constellation.

If Corvus is not visible due to a haze of pollution, find Spica. The Big Dipper is our perennial guide to Spica, Alpha Virginias, the brightest star in Virgo the Virgin. Spica’s apparent magnitude (m) is 1.0 in a system that ranks the brightness of astronomical bodies by numbers from the smallest, representing the brightest, to the dimmest, that bear increasingly larger numbers.
When darkness falls, around 9:30pm, find the Big Dipper overhead and to the south. Follow the arc of its handle to the orange colored star, Arcturus, -.06m, the brightest star in our summer sky. Trace the curve of the arc to the next brightest star, Spica. Continue on a short distance to discover Corvus the Crow.
 Judy Isacoff

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *