Canis Major

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Abbreviation:  CMa
English Name:  The Great Dogs
Genitive: Sirius
Hemisphere: Southern Hemisphere
Location: Between the constellations of Monoceros and Lepus.
Visible between latitudes:  +60 and -90 degrees
Best season: Winter
Seen in three seasons: Autumn, Winter, and Spring
Best seen in:  January
Seen between: October and March
Right Ascension (RA): 07 hour
Declination (DEC): -20 degrees
Area (square degrees):  380 (43th)

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Canis Major (The Great dog)

  • This constellation is beautiful to look at the brightest of all stars – Sirius; the brightest star in the night sky!
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  • Sirius, often called the Dog Star.

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Messier Objects in Canis Major

M41 – There is one prominent Open Cluster, magnitude +5.0, south of Sirius.

Other objects in Canis Major

Select CatalogNo of Objects
Barnard (B)0x object
Caldwell (C)2x objects
Collinder (Cr)15x objects
New General Catalogue (NGC)38x objects
Index Catalogue (IC)8x objects
Sharpless (Sh2)10x objects

Features of Interest

  • NGC2362 – Open Cluster; small and condensed, requiring a small telescope to be seen properly.
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    NGC4244 – Large edge-on spiral, found eight degrees west of Cor Caroli.
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  • NGC4485 and NGC4490 – Two splendid galaxies in the same field: NGC4485 is more compact (this one is sometimes called the Cocoon Galaxy), while NGC4490 is larger and brighter. Located less than one degree northwest of beta CVn.
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  • NGC4631 – Very large and bright, seen edge-on. Found in a rather barren field, six degrees south of Cor Caroli and two degrees west. In the same field are two more galaxies, NGC4656 and NGC4657, just southwest of NGC4631.

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Named Stars

  • Sirius (Alpha CMa)
  • Murzim (Beta CMa)
  • Muliphen (Gamma CMa)
  • Wezen (Delta CMa)
  • Adara (Epsilon CMa)
  • Furud (Zeta CMa)
  • Aludra (Eta CMa)
  • more list of stars in Canis Major

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IAU Sky Chart: Canis Major

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Constellations – Visible from the UK

AndromedaAquariusAquilaAriesAuriga
BoötesCamelopardalisCancerCanes VenaticiCanis Major
Canis MinorCapricornusCassiopeiaCepheusComa Berenices
Corona BorealisCygnusDelphinusDracoEquuleus
GeminiHerculesLacertaLeoLeo Minor
LibraLynx LyraMonocerosOphiuchus
OrionPegasusPerseusPiscesSagitta
Serpens CaputSerpens CaudaSextansTaurusTriangulum
Ursa MajorUrsa MinorVirgoVulpecula
(44 constellations above are visible from the United Kingdom.)

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Parts visible from the UK

AntliaColumbaEridanusFornaxMicroscopium
Piscis AustrinusPuppisPyxisSagittariusScorpius
(10 constellations above are partially visible from the United Kingdom.)

(Only 10 of them even in part from the United Kingdom.)

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Constellations: Southern Celestial Hemisphere
…..never seen from the UK

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Back to Constellation Names

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