History of the Constellations

Stars and Constellations


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Contents of this page: | Description | Skylore | Modern Culture | Origin and History | Submit new info... |

Images (at bottom of page): | Crater Chart: (Figure 1) | Bayer, 1661, page zSs: (Figure 2) | Bayer, 1697, page N2r: (Figure 3) | Bayer, 1697, page N2v: (Figure 4) | Bode, 1801, page l: (Figure 5) | Bode, 1801, page r: (Figure 6) | Aspin, 1825, page Hydra: (Figure 7) | Images digitized by Hannah Magruder.

Constellation Data


Dim stars on the back of Hydra; shape of a cup.

Skylore and Literature

The drinking cup of Apollo, god of art and wisdom, who carried the sun across the sky every day. When Corvus, Apollo’s crow, refused to go for water to ease his thirst, Apollo placed the cup of water just in front of him where he could see it but never drink from it, though he chase it endlessly.

Modern Culture

Origin and History

Crater is included in the ancient star catalogs of Eudoxos of Knidos, Aratos of Soli, and Ptolemy.

Submit new info...

Many excellent websites provide a variety of information about constellations for amateur astronomers and telescope users (see sidebar links for a few of these). These constellation pages are not intended to duplicate those efforts, but are devoted to two aims: First, they are intended to assist the beginning skywatcher, including students in history of science survey courses, in becoming familiar with Basic Celestial Phenomena (BCP). Second, these pages are devoted to the history of the constellations and the history of astronomy. They are intended to serve as a repository for collaborative use and reference. Do you have additional historical information about the stars or constellation described on this page? Please submit additional information to kmagruder@ou.edu. Submissions will be attributed. Editors for historical information are Kerry Magruder, JoAnn Palmeri, Peter Barker, and Laura Gibbs.

Oklahoma History of Science exhibits: http://hos.ou.edu/exhibits/. Page revised 4/15/04

Bad links, misplaced images, or questions? Contact Kerry Magruder. Thank you.

"If the stars should appear one night in a thousand years, how would men believe and adore, and preserve for many generations the remembrance of the city of God which had been shown. But every night come out these envoys of beauty, and light the universe with their admonishing smile." R. W. Emerson, Nature


Figure 1 Figure 1 - Return to Text

Crt Chart
Figure 2 Figure 2 - Return to Text

Bayer, 1661

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Figure 3 Figure 3 - Return to Text

Bayer, 1697

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Bayer, 1697

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Bode, 1801

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Bode, 1801

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Figure 7 Figure 7 - Return to Text

Aspin, 1825

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Exhibit credit: Kerry Magruder.

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These teaching resources provided by the History of Science Department at the University of Oklahoma.

Unless otherwise indicated, all images courtesy History of Science Collections, University of Oklahoma Libraries. Image Terms of Use.

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OU Disclaimer | Contacts: Content - Kerry Magruder, Website - Eric Bruning