Canis Major

Tuesday 19 September 2017 - 07:56:35 Posted by  Bobby

 Mythology of Canis Major

Canis Major is one of the most prominent constellations, Canis Major is embellished by the brightest of all stars, Sirius. It depicts the larger of the two dogs belonging to Orion, the hunter (the other being represented by Canis Minor). As the Earth rotates, the dogs seem to follow the hunter across the sky.

 The Facts

  • Depiction: The Greater Dog
  • Pronounced: KAY-nis-MAY-jer
  • Genitive: Canis Majoris
  • Abbreviation: CMa
  • Highest in the Sky: January to February
  • Size Ranking: 43rd
  • Coverage Area: 380 Sq. Degrees
  • Right Acension: 7 hours
  • Declination: -20°
  • Visibility: 55°N to 90°S

 Notable Objects

  • Alpha Canis Majoris: Sirius the Dog star
  • M41: Open star cluster
  • NGC 2354: Open star cluster
  • NGC 2362: Open star cluster
  • NGC 2359: Thor's Helmet (Emission Nebula)

 Named Stars

  • Sirius, Alpha Canis Majoris
  • Mirzam, Beta Canis Majoris
  • Muliphein, Gamma Canis Majoris 
  • Wezen, Delta Canis Majoris
  • Adara, Epsilon Canis Majoris
  • Furud, Zeta Canis Majoris
  • Aludra, Eta Canis Majoris

 Best Viewed Objects/Stars

Alpha Canis Majoris

 Sirius is brightest star in the sky, at magnitude -1.44. Sirius emits the light of about 20 of our Suns. This luminosity is not unusual, but because of its relative closeness to us (it is 8.6 light-years away), Sirius outshines all other stars. It is white, but when low on the horizon it often appears to flash colorfully as its light is broken up by air currents in the Earth's atmosphere. Sirius is a close double star, with a companion that orbits it every 50 years. This companion, Sirius B, popularly termed the Pup, it is a white dwarf nearly 10,000 times fainter than Sirius itself. Hence it can only be seen through a large telescope when the two stars are farthest apart during each orbit.


M41 is an open cluster containing about 80 stars of 7th magnitude and fainter, about 2,300 light-years away. It can just be seen with the naked eye, and was known to the ancient Greeks. Binoculars or a small telescope reveal that its stars are arranged in chains. It covers an area of sky about the size of the full Moon.

NGC 2362

NGC 2362 is an open cluster, small and condensed, requiring a small telescope in order to be studied properly. Its brightest member is the 4th magnitude star Tau Canis Majoris, which is a highly luminous blue supergiant. The cluster lies about 5,000 light-years away.

Canis Major

 Where to?

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