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Canis Major, The Big Dog Constellation

Canis Major (Pronounciation:Can-iss May-jore, Abbrev:CMa, Latin:Canis Majoris) is a constellation, one of 88 constellations that the night sky is divided into. The sky is not divided up equally between the constellations. Canis Major takes up 380.118 sq. degrees of the night sky which equates to 0.92% of the night sky. The constellation gets its name as it name means The Big Dog . The constellation is one of the original constellations that was devised by the Ancient Greco-Egyptian astronomer Ptolemy who lived between 90 A.D. and 168 A.D.

Canis Major is not a member of the Zodiac group of twelve constellations that appear when the Sun sets. Canis Major is a southern hemispheric constellation which means it can't be seen easily or at all from the northern hemisphere.

The brightest star in Canis Major is Sirius. There are 15 Extrasolar Planets (Exoplanets) in this constellation that are detailed on this site. There is a dedicated page for exoplanets in Canis Major. The current largest star so far identified in the constellation of Canis Major is VY Canis Majoris. For a list of named stars, that is stars that don't start HD or HIP, please visit Canis Major Star List Page.

Canis Major Star and Deep Space Object Count

The number of stars that have been catalogued as part of the Hipparcos Star Catalogue from Canis Major is 1371. The number of stars that are of magnitude 6.0 or lower in the constellation is 90. The number of stars in the constellation that make up the outline is 8.

There are 1 deep space objects that were identified by Charles Messier in this constellation. There are 1 non-Messier deep space objects that are covered on this site and the list is below.

Stars of Interest

The nearest star to Earth is Sirius which is roughly about 8.6 Light Years from the Earth. The nearest star to the Earth with an exoplanet is Nu2 Canis Majoris which is about 64.42 Light Years. The furthest star that can be located in the constellation is HIP 34074 which is located about 326163.3 Light Years away from the Sun. The furthest figure is derived from either the 1997 or 2007 Hipparcos star catalogue parallax figure and it has been known to produce distances that are wrong.

The dimmest star that can be seen in Canis Major with the naked eye is OS Canis Majoris. The dim star has an apparent magnitude of 6. The dimmest star that a person is able to see with their naked eye is 6.0 magnitude based on the table in the reference. Ref: University of Michigan

The caveat of these stars are that they are catalogued on this site. If you know of a star that is nearer or further then do let me know in the comments and I'll add it to the site. The stars mentioned are from the Hipparcos catalogue or have been added because of their special status.

Constellation Legend

Canis Major usually refers to one of Orion's hunting dogs who help him fight Taurus or pursuing Lepus the hare.

There are no major meteor showers that radiate from within this constellation.

Canis Major Facts

NameCanis Major
Is a Zodiac Sign No
Largest StarVY Canis Majoris
Brightest StarSirius
Area380.118 sq. deg.
Percentage of Night Sky0.92%
Size Position43rd
Hemisphere Southern
Site Exoplanet Count15
Meteor Shower Count8
Nearest StarSirius
Nearest Star with Exoplanet(s)Nu2 Canis Majoris
Dimmest StarOS Canis Majoris
Furthest StarHIP 34074
Bright Star Count90
Hipparcos Star Count1371
Main Star Count8
Messier Deep Space Object Count1
*Non-Messier Deep Space Object Count1
Bordering / Neighbouring / Surrounding ConstellationsMonoceros

*Note: The number of Non-Messier Deep Space Object Count relates to how many are covered on this site not how many there are.

Canis Major Constellation Map

Canis Major Constellation Star Map

The map was generated using Night Vision, an awesome free application by Brian Simpson.

List of Deep Space Objects (Galaxies, Nebulas, Supernovas, etc) in Canis Major

NameTypeDistanceDeclinationRight Ascension
Messier 41 (NGC2287)Open Cluster2300-20:4406h 46m 0
NGC 2207Colliding Galaxies81-21:22.2206h 16m 22s

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