Crater is a faint constellation best seen in April.
Click on image for full size
Windows to the Universe original image


The constellation Crater is known as the Cup. Crater is a small constellation located between Hydra and Leo and next to Corvus. Crater is best seen sometime between March and June. You'll have to scan the sky closely because it is made mostly of dim stars.

The stories about Crater come from Greek myth. It is said that Corvus, the crow, was sent by Apollo to get some spring water. He took the cup to fill, and came across a fig that wasn't quite ripe. He waited for it to turn ripe, which made him late on his return. He brought a serpent with him and told Apollo that it attacked him and that was why he was late.

Of course, Apollo knew everything, so he was very angry that Corvus lied. He sent the crow, the cup and the serpent all into the sky. Another story says the cup is actually the sacred goblet used by the Olympian Gods. At one time, the constellation was seen as the young boy, Ganymede, who used to serve the gods nectar in the goblet. It was changed to represent the cup.

You might also be interested in:

Science, Evolution, and Creationism

How did life evolve on Earth? The answer to this question can help us understand our past and prepare for our future. Although evolution provides credible and reliable answers, polls show that many people turn away from science, seeking other explanations with which they are more comfortable....more


Hydra is the longest constellation in the sky and is also the largest in terms of area. It is so long that it takes more than six hours to rise completely. Along its northern side, we can observe the zodiacal...more


The constellation Leo is known as the Lion. Leo's head and mane make up an upside-down question mark called the Sickle. One of the brightest spring stars, Regulus (Latin for "little king"), is at the base...more


Aquarius is a member of the Zodiac, a group of constellations that the Sun travels through each year. It is best viewed in the fall in the southern sky, although much of the northern hemisphere can see...more


Andromeda is a "V" shaped constellation best viewed in the fall if you live in the Northern Hemisphere. Andromeda lies close to the north pole, so only a few in the Southern Hemisphere can see this strangely...more


Cancer, the Crab, is a member of the Zodiac, a group of constellations that the Sun travels through each year. Cancer is best seen during the month of March, but is visible from December through June....more

Canis Major

Canis Major is known as the Great Dog. In Greek myth, it is said that this constellation, along with Canis Minor, are Orion's hunting dogs. Canis Major was one of the most important constellations in...more


The constellation Capricornus represents the figure of either a goat or a sea-goat in the sky. Capricornus is also a member of the Zodiac, a special group of constellations that the Sun travels through...more

Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part is sponsored in part through grants from federal agencies (NASA and NOAA), and partnerships with affiliated organizations, including the American Geophysical Union, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Earth System Information Partnership, the American Meteorological Society, the National Center for Science Education, and TERC. The American Geophysical Union and the American Geosciences Institute are Windows to the Universe Founding Partners. NESTA welcomes new Institutional Affiliates in support of our ongoing programs, as well as collaborations on new projects. Contact NESTA for more information. NASA ESIP NCSE HHMI AGU AGI AMS NOAA