Canis Maior


Canis Maior


English nameGreater Dog

Major
stars
alpha Canis MaiorisSiriusmagn. -1,5RA: 06h 45m 09.00sDec: -16 42' 55.5"
beta Canis MaiorisMirzammagn. 2,0RA: 06h 22m 41.97sDec: -17 57' 21.6"
delta Canis MaiorisWezenmagn. 2,0RA: 07h 08m 23.48sDec: -26 23' 35.5"
epsilon Canis MaiorisAdharamagn. 1,5RA: 06h 58m 37.56sDec: -28 58' 19.4"
zeta Canis MaiorisFurudmagn. 3,1RA: 06h 20m 18.80sDec: -30 03' 48.1"
eta Canis MaiorisAludramagn. 2,4RA: 07h 24m 05.70sDec: -29 18' 11.3"
omicron2 Canis Maiorismagn. 3,1RA: 07h 03m 01.48sDec: -23 50' 00.1"

DescriptionVery compact constellation, situated to the southeast of Orion.

Canis Maior contains many bright stars. First of all Sirius, which with its magnitude -1,46 is the brightest star of the whole sky; it is a white star and is only 8,7 light-years away from the solar system. Other remarkable stars are also: Mirzam, (that in Arab means "herald", considering that it preannounces the rise of Sirius), a giant distant 720 light-years; Adhara, another giant distant 490 light-years; Wezen, a yellow supergiant which utters a light radiation a hundred thousand times more intense than that of the Sun and is 3000 light-years away; and finally Aludra, fifty thousand times brighter than the Sun and distant 2500 light-years.

M41The constellation of Canis Maior includes two interesting open clusters: M41 (that you see reproduced here on the left), to the south of Sirius, which counts about 50 stars, and NGC 2362, assembled around tau Canis Maioris, composed by about forty stars.


Mythology
and history
According to some versions, for instance that one of Aratus, Canis Maior is one of the Orion's hunting dogs (the other one is Canis Minor).

Other versions identify the constellation with Lelapus, a dog endowed by the gods with such speed that it could take any prey.


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