Canis Minor


Canis Minor


English nameLesser Dog

Major
stars
alpha Canis MinorisProcyonmagn. 0,4RA: 07h 39m 18.23sDec: +05 13' 32.2"
beta Canis MinorisGomeisamagn. 3,1RA: 07h 27m 09.05sDec: +08 17' 21.6"

DescriptionSmall constellation to the south of Gemini, licked up in the southern part by equator. The brightest star of the constellation is Procyon (from Greek, "before the dog", since it rises before Canis Maior): it is a yellow-white star, 11,3 light-years away; it is the eighth star of the sky in order of brightness.

Besides Procyon, in the constellation of Canis Minor there are no other particularly interesting objects.


Mythology
and history
According to some versions Canis Minor is Orion's second dog (the first one is Canis Maior).

Another version, reported by Hyginus, says that Canis Minor represents Maera, the dog of Icarus, the man to whom Dionysus taught how to draw wine from grapes. When Icarus let taste some wine to some shepherds, they became inebriated, and thinking Icarus had poisoned them, they killed him. So Maera ran to Erigon, Icarus' daughter, and conducted her to the place where there was her dead father: then the dog and the young girl let themselves die near the body of the man. In memory of this sad circumstance, Zeus set the the protagonists' images in the sky: Icarus was Bootes, Erigon Virgo and Maera Canis Minor.


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