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Constellation Crater (Cup)

Constellation Crater (Cup)

Southern Hemisphere




The constellation of the Cup (lat. Crater) consists of rather inconspicuous stars of the fourth magnitude. While the English name seems rather simple, the Latin name reflects a status symbol of antiquity. A crater was elaborately and costly made for refining the royal wine with herbs and diluting it with water.

How to spot Crater

With an area of 282 square degrees, the constellation of the Cup is located near the Crow and the Hydra. It is located in the southern hemisphere and, like the Crow, is best seen between March and May.


Two tales of Greek mythology are associated with the constellation of Crater. The first one is about Apollo, who sent his crow with a cup to a spring to bring him water. However, on the way there, the crow was distracted by fruits and therefore fulfilled its mission much later. To appease Apollo, the crow came up with an excuse: At the spring, it found a sea serpent that it first killed and then slandered, claiming that it had blocked the access to the water for days. Apollo, however, recognized the untruthfulness and put the three parties in warning to all liars in the sky.

According to another narration it is the cup from which King Demophon of Elaios drank the blood of his own daughter. In his kingdom he had one daughter of the nobility sacrificed every year to avoid epidemics. His own descendants, however, were never among the raffle of victims. When the nobleman Matusios asked the king to put his daughter to fate as well, the choice of the king fell on his daughter. Matusios then killed the princess vengeful and gave her father a wine in which was the blood of his murdered daughter. The king finally executed Matusios and set the cup in the sky to warn everyone.