|alpha Canum Venaticorum
|RA: 12h 56m 01.71s
|Dec: +38° 19' 06.1"
|Small constellation, situated between Bootes and Ursa Maior. Its principal star, alpha Canum Venaticorum, was denominated Cor Caroli ("Charles' heart", in Latin) by Sir Charles Scarborough, in honor of king Charles I of England.
The constellation signalizes itself for the great number of galaxies that it contains, among which there is the famous Whirlpool Galaxy, M51, a spiral galaxy which is 18 million light-years away from us. Long-exposured photos reveal that at the end of one of the branches there is a satellite galaxy. Remarkable is also M94, a frontally seen spiral galaxy, which at the telescope remembers the shape of a small comet.
On the border with the constellation of Bootes, in the southern zone of the constellation, there is M3 a globular cluster that at binoculars appears as an out-of-focus light ball.
|The constellation was drawn in 1687 by Johannes Hevelius, using stars that in precedence belonged to the Ursa Maior. Canes Venatici represent two dogs that Bootes keeps on a lead: they stretch out to snap the Ursa Maior's legs.
The more southern dog is marked by the two brightest stars, alpha and beta Canum Venaticorum; the more northern one by a small group of little bright stars.