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Canis Minor, The Small Dog Constellation Facts and Mythology

Canis Minor Constellation Star Map

Canis Minor (Pronounciation:Can-iss Mine-nore, Abbrev:CMi, Latin:Canis Minoris) 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 Minor takes up 183.367 sq. degrees of the night sky which equates to 0.44% of the night sky. Canis Minor is the 71st largest in terms of size in the night sky.

The constellation name means The Small 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 2 stars that make up the main constellation. The hipparcos satellite scanned and detailed 466 stars. There are 25 stars that can be seen with the naked eye in the constellation on a very clear night sky.

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

The distance to Canis Minor is not calculable because all the stars that make up the constellation are at various distances. The best answer for distance to Canis Minor is to calculate the average distance of the stars.

There are 3 Extrasolar Planets (Exoplanets) in this constellation that are detailed on this site. There is a dedicated page for exoplanets in Canis Minor.

There are no deep space objects that were identified by Charles Messier in this constellation. There are no non-Messier deep space objects in this constellation that are covered at present on this site.

The image at the top right of this page was generated using Night Vision, a free to use and download application by Brian Simspon.

Canis Minor Star Facts

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.

Procyon B, Nearest Star

The nearest star to Earth is Procyon B which is roughly about 11.41 Light Years from the Earth. The nearest star to the Earth with an exoplanet is HD 66141 which is about 254.02 Light Years.

W Canis Minoris, Furthest Star

The furthest star that is located in the constellation is W Canis Minoris 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.

HD 57608, Dimmest Visible Star

The dimmest star that can be seen in Canis Minor with the naked eye is HD 57608. The dim star has an apparent magnitude of 5.99. 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.

Canis Minor Mythology

In one version of the Mythology, it represents one of the dogs that Orion uses to chase Earth round the skies. The other dog being Canis Major which counts the brightest star in the night sky as one of its constituents stars, Sirius.

Another mythological legend for the star is that the dog belonged to Icarius, the man who the god Dionysus taught to make wine. Icarius made wine and when he saw what the effect was on the shepherd he had given the wine, Icarius committed suicide. The dog ran off to find Erigone, Icarius's daughter and pulled her to the body. Erigone and the dog would then commit suicide themselves and Zeus would then put them up into the heavens. Ian Ridpath

Although it is a minor constellation and only consists of two main stars, it does contain Procyon, the eighth brightest star in the night sky.

Canis Minor Facts

NameCanis Minor
Is a Zodiac Sign No
Brightest StarProcyon
Area183.367 sq. deg.
Percentage of Night Sky0.44%
Size Position71st
Hemisphere Northern
Site Exoplanet Count3
Meteor Shower Count0
Nearest StarProcyon B
Nearest Star with Exoplanet(s)HD 66141
Brightest StarProcyon
Dimmest StarHD 57608
Furthest StarW Canis Minoris
Bright Star Count25
Hipparcos Star Count466
Main Star Count2
Messier Deep Space Object Count0
*Non-Messier Deep Space Object Count0
Bordering / Neighbouring / Surrounding ConstellationsGemini

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

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