Canis Minor


Abbreviation:  CMa
English Name:  The Great Dogs
Genitive: Sirius
Hemisphere: Southern Hemisphere
Location: Between the constellations of Aquarius and Sagittarius.
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)


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 in Canis Major

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

Other objects in Canis Major

44x objects: New General Catalogue (NGC)
29x objects:  Index Catalogue (IC)
3x objects: Collinder Catalog (Cr)

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)

IAU Sky Chart: Canis Major


Go To

BoötesCamelopardalisCancerCanes VenaticiCanis Major
CapricornusCassiopeiaCephusComa BerenicesCorona Borealis
HerculesLacertaLeoLeo MinorLynx
TaurusTriangulumUrsa MajorUrsa MinorVirgo
(41 of them above the lists are seen from the United Kingdom.)


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