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. Canis Major is the 43rd largest in terms of size in the night sky.
The constellation 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.
There are 6 stars that make up the main constellation. The hipparcos satellite scanned and detailed 1371 stars. There are 90 stars that can be seen with the naked eye in the constellation on a very clear night sky.
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.
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.
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.
The image at the top right of this page was generated using Night Vision, a free to use and download application by Brian Simspon.
You can't just go to one location and arrive at the constellation because the constellation is made up of stars at different locations and different distances. The nearest main star in the constellation is at a distance of 8.60 light years and the furthest main star is a distance of 1,988.80 light years. The average distance to the main stars is 823.99 light years.
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.
The furthest star that is located in the constellation is HIP 34074 and it is 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 constellation contains Sirius which is the brightest star in the night sky, the only star brighter is the Sun. Sirius has long been a source of inspiration for stories. In the television series, V, the Visitors were said to be from Sirius.
VY Canis Majoris is one of the leading contenders for being the largest star in the galaxy. It was widely recognised as being the largest until it was unseated by the discovery of UY Scuti. Given the distance to the star, the exact size of the size is unknown, the size we have is a best guess based on observations and calculations.
To give you an indication of how big the star is, if the star was in our solar system instead of the sun, we would be inside it. The radius of VY Canis Majoris would stretch out as far as Jupiter.
|Is a Zodiac Sign||No|
|Area||380.118 sq. deg.|
|Percentage of Night Sky||0.92%|
|Site Exoplanet Count||15|
|Meteor Shower Count||8|
|Nearest Star with Exoplanet(s)||Nu2 Canis Majoris|
|Largest Star||VY Canis Majoris|
|Dimmest Star||OS Canis Majoris|
|Furthest Star||HIP 34074|
|Bright Star Count||90|
|Hipparcos Star Count||1371|
|Main Star Count||6|
|Messier Deep Space Object Count||1|
|Bordering / Neighbouring / Surrounding Constellations||Monoceros|
*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 Dwarf Galaxy||Dwarf Galaxy||25,000 Ly||-27d 40' 0||07h 12m 35m 0|
|Messier 41 (NGC2287)||Open Cluster||2300||-20:44||06h 46m 0|
|NGC 2207||Colliding Galaxies||81||-21:22.22||06h 16m 22s|
|Thor's Helmet||Emission Nebula||15,000 Ly||-13:13:48.61"||07h 18h 30m 09|
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