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Canis Major

Canis Major

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AbbreviationCMa
GenitiveCanis Majoris
Meaning in Englishthe Greater Dog
Right ascension7 h
Declination-20°
Visible to latitudeBetween 60° and -90°
On meridian9 p.m., February 15
Area
 - Total
Ranked 43th
380 sq. deg.
Number of stars with
apparent magnitude < 3
5
Brightest star
 - Apparent magnitude
Sirius (α Canis Majoris)
-1.46
Meteor showersNone
Bordering constellations

Canis Major (the big dog) is one of the 88 modern constellations, and was also in Ptolemy's list of 48 constellations. It is said to represent one of the dogs following Orion the hunter (see also the constellations of Orion, Canis Minor, and Canes Venatici.) Canis Major contains Sirius, the brightest star in the night sky, and that star is part of the Winter Triangle.

Notable features

Canis Major's alpha star Sirius is the brightest star besides the Sun as seen from Earth. It is also one of the nearest. The star is referred to as the Dog Star; its name Sirius means scorching.

Other named stars in Canis Major:

  • Murzim (β Canis Majoris)
  • Muliphen (γ Canis Majoris)
  • Wezen (δ Canis Majoris)
  • Adara (ε Canis Majoris)
  • Furud (ζ Canis Majoris)
  • Aludra (η Canis Majoris)

Notable deep sky objects

There aren't many bright deep sky objects in this region of sky. The only Messier object in Canis Major is M41 (NGC 2287), an open cluster of visual magnitude 4.6. It is located about 4 degrees directly south of Sirius.

Mythology

Not much classical mythology is associated with this constellation. It is said that Canis Major is the larger of the two hunting dogs of Orion and is always pursuing Lepus the hare or helping Orion fight Taurus the bull.



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