Canis Minor

This is a small constellation, easily perceived as its brightest star is a first magnitude luminary that immediately attracts attention. Canis Minor is an unremarkable constellation that has its roots in antiquity, indeed, it was one of Ptolemy's original constellations, and has always been referred to as a dog since time immemorial, although strangely, the Greeks recognised both Canis Minor and major as one constellation though in later ages they thought of it as separate from Canis major and named it the “puppy”. Canis Minor is the second hunting companion of Actaeon and is named Meara; it lies on the border of Monoceros to the west and Gemini to the north. It can be seen as an asterism of just two stars that lies in a northwest line tying the pair together. How this constellation ever came to be identified with a dog is one of the minor mysteries of the heavens, yet all ancient cultures refer to it as nothing else, with the exception of the Chinese, who thought of this constellation as a river, a possible reference to the proximity of the Milky Way.

Notable Objects

Procyon, a yellow giant star.