Canis Major

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

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!
  • Sirius, often called the Dog Star.
  • It lies between Monoceros (The Unicorn) and Canis Minor (The Lesser Dog).

Messier Objects

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

Features of interest

  • NGC2362 – Open Cluster; small and condensed, requiring a small telescope to be seen properly.
    NGC4244 – Large edge-on spiral, found eight degrees west of Cor Caroli.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Named Stars

  • Sirius (Alpha CMa)
  • Murzim (Beta CMa)
  • Muliphen (Gamma CMa)
  • Wezen (Delta CMa)
  • Adara (Epsilon CMa)
  • Furud (Zeta CMa)
  • Aludra (Eta CMa)


  • Photo of the constellation“Â Canis Major, as it appears to the naked-eye. (Lines have been added for clarity.)
  • Sky Chart  –  Canis Major
  • List of stars in Auriga.

Back to The 88 Constellations Lists  page.

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