Canis Major

The Greater Dog

Genitive:Canis Majoris
Fully Visible:90°S – 56°N

Canis Major is usually considered to be one of Orion's hunting dogs. The obsolete constellation Gallus stands at the hound's tail.

The constellation of Canis Major

Notable Features

Visible Named Stars
α CMa Sirius Sirius is also known as the 'Dog Star'. It is one of the closest stars to the Sun and is the brightest star in the night sky. It sometimes appears as Canicula (from the Latin canicula meaning 'the little dog') in older star atlases and catalogues and as Al Shira al Yemeniat (from the Arabic al‑shiʿrā al‑yamāniya meaning 'the southern Shiʿrā') in Mohammad Al Achsasi Al Mouakket's calendarium. In Chinese astronomy, this star is known as Tianlang, from Tiān Láng meaning 'the celestial wolf'. Its companion, Sirius B, was the first white dwarf star discovered and is the closest one to the Sun. The existance of this previously unseen companion was predicted in 1844 by Friedrich Bessel on the basis of the orbital motion of Sirius. Alvan Clark first saw it in 1862 and its identity as a white dwarf was established in 1925 by Walter Sydney Adams.
β CMa Mirzam The name of this star means 'herald' or 'announcer'. It rises just before Sirius (α CMa), thus announcing the imminent arrival of the brightest star.
γ CMa Muliphein This star sometimes appears as Mirza (from the Arabic al‑mirzam meaning 'the herald') in older star atlases and catalogues.
δ CMa Wezen This star appears as Thalath al Adzari (from the Arabic al‑thālitha al‑ʿadhārii meaning 'the third maiden') in Mohammad Al Achsasi Al Mouakket's calendarium.
ε CMa Adhara This star appears as Aoul al Adzari (from the Arabic awwal al‑ʿadhārii meaning 'the first maiden') in Mohammad Al Achsasi Al Mouakket's calendarium.
ζ CMa Furud This third-magnitude star is a spectroscopic binary.
η CMa Aludra This star defines the standard for the spectral type B5Ⅰa, a blue supergiant.
σ CMa Unurgunite This K-type giant star received its official name in 2017.
Other Interesting Stars
HD 43197 Amadioha This ninth-magnitude star is known to have at least one exoplanet and is located near Furud (ζ CMa).
WASP‑64 Atakoraka Found between κ CMa and λ Cma, this thirteenth-magnitude star is known to have at least one exoplanet.
Deep Sky Objects
M41 This is a distant open cluster, best seen with binoculars or a small telescope.
C58 This is another open cluster, discovered by Caroline Herschel in 1783 and is sometimes known as Caroline's Cluster. Its New General Catalogue number is 2360.
C64 Also known as NGC 2372, this is a young, massive open cluster which requires a small telescope to see it properly. τ CMa is its brightest member.