Solar System

(The Crow)

Another avian constellation, Corvus is also one of Ptolemy's original 48 constellations. The legend behind it is intertwined with the neighbouring constellation of Crater the cup. Apollo, a Greek god ordered a crow to bring him water in a cup but the crow got distracted by a fig tree and abandoned his duties for a taste of some figs. In a feeble attempt to mask his erroneous behaviour, he picked up a water snake in his claws and claimed that it prevented him from obtaining the water. Apollo instantly recognised his response as being a fabrication and banished the snake, the crow and the cup into the sky and these became the constellations, Hydra, Corvus and Crater.

Although it is in the south celestial hemisphere, Corvus can be seen during springtime in the north. Four of its five main stars are easily glimpsed and the constellation is home to the brightest interacting pair of galaxies, the Antennae.

Antennae   Antennae (NGC 4038-9):

Probably the most well known Arp galaxy with a NGC designation, Arp 244 is a pair of galaxies that are currently interacting with each other and forcing tidal streams to be ejected from the ends of both galaxies.

A phenomenon that is the result of interaction is an increase in star formation in the larger galaxy with most of its structure etched by the blue glow of many super star clusters.

The two galaxies will be completely one entity in 300 million years time and the material in the two streamers might possibly form a tidal dwarf galaxy although this is mere speculation.

In this ground based image, the Antennae are two interacting galaxies that have produced arcing streamers of gas that lend the pair its name. Purplish super star clusters are visible at the top of the larger galaxy,
NGC 4038. The red parts are numerous nebulae formed as a result of the collision. The distance of both galaxies is 45 million light years.
  NGC 4027:
NGC 4027 is a highly distorted galaxy near the Antennae pair and has a luminous bright blue colour. The distortion is due to an even fainter companion galaxy known as NGC 4027A. Due to the distortion, it is also Arp 22.
Image copyright M. Schirmer
Corona Borealis