As befits a black bird, the raven is a rather faint constellation. The brightest star is γ Corvi at only 2.5m. α Corvi, which marks the beak of the raven, is even more dim at only 4.0m light. Even though it is so inconspicuous, the raven is a very old constellation. Arab Bedouin tribes called it a tent.
NGC 4361 is as inconspicuous as the entire constellation and can only be seen in large binoculars. The 10.3m bright planetary nebula has a diameter of only 40 arc seconds and appears at a somewhat higher magnification as a faint star. The central star is very hot – its surface temperature is about 90,000° F (60,000° C). NGC 4361 is located at a distance of about 1,900 to 3,600 light-years.