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Corona Borealis - Northern Crown

Represented by six principal stars placed to form a circular figure resembling a wreath. It’s directly above the Serpent’s head between Boötes on the west and Hercules on the east.

This beautiful little cluster of stars is said to commemorate a crown. Bacchus gave this crown to Ariadne, the daughter of Minos, second King of Crete. Her lover, King Theseus of Athens, was shut up in the celebrated labyrinth of Crete, scheduled to be the dinner of the ferocious Minotaur who lived there. The half-man, half-bull Minotaur fed upon the chosen young men and maidens which the Athenians gave as yearly tribute to the tyranny of Minos.

Daring fellow that he was, Theseus slew the monster. To keep her adored Theseus from being lost in the maze while he was slaying the creature, Ariadne gave him a thread so he could follow it back to the outside when he was through. The appreciative Theseus married Ariadne, as he’d promised and carried her away. But when he arrived at the island of Naxos, he deserted her, despite her love for him and regardless of the evidence of her endearing tenderness and obvious attachment.

Ariadne was so disconsolate at her abandonment, some say she hanged herself. Plutarch says she lived many years afterward and married Bacchus, who loved her with much tenderness. He gave her one big party after another: coming out parties, showers, bachelor parties, pajama parties. He was even getting a bad name for being a playboy. Finally, he gave her a crown of seven stars which was itself placed among the stars after her death. Only then did he finally go on the wagon, crying himself to death.

Manilius, in the first book of his “Astronomicon,” says of the crown:

“Near to Boötes the bright crown is view’d

And shines with stars of different magnitude:

Or placed in front above the rest displays

A vigorous light, and darts surprising rays.

This shone, since Theseus first his faith betray’d

The monument of the forsaken maid.”

Right Ascension 03:43
Diameter (°)9
Area (square °)179
Opposition May 19
Size Rank 73rd
Brightness Rank 50th
GenitiveCoronae Borealis