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Canes Venatici
Canes Venatici
List of stars in Canes Venatici
Abbreviation CVn
Genitive Canum Venaticorum
Pronunciation /ˈkeɪniːz vɨˈnætɨsaɪ/ Cánes Venátici, genitive /ˈkeɪnəm vɨˌnætɨˈkɒrəm/
Symbolism the Hunting Dogs
Right ascension 13 h
Declination +40°
Family Ursa Major
Quadrant NQ3
Area 465 sq. deg. (38th)
Main stars 2
Stars with planets 0
Stars brighter than 3.00m 1
Stars within 10.00 pc (32.62 ly) 2
Brightest star Cor Caroli (α CVn) (2.90m)
Nearest star DG CVn
(25.89 ly, 7.94 pc)
Messier objects 5
Meteor showers Canes Venaticids
Ursa Major
Coma Berenices
Visible at latitudes between +90° and −40°.
Best visible at 21:00 (9 p.m.) during the month of May.

Canes Venatici is a small northern constellation that was created by Johannes Hevelius in the 17th century. Its name is Latin for hunting dogs and it represents the mythological dogs Chara and Asterion being held on a leash by Boötes the herdsman, a neighboring constellation.



Canes Venatici depicted in an old star atlas.

Canes Venatici contains some bright stars, but before the seventeenth century it was treated as part of the constellation of Boötes the herdsman. Its identification with Boötes's dogs arose through a mistranslation. Some of its component stars were traditionally described as representing Boötes's cudgel (Greek, Κολλοροβος). When the Greek astronomer Ptolemy's Almagest was translated from Greek to Arabic, the translator did not know the Greek word and rendered it as the nearest-looking Arabic word, and wrote العصى ذات الكلاب in ordinary unvowelled Arabic text "al-`aşā dhāt al-kullāb", which means "the spearshaft having a hook", probably thinking of a shepherd's crook. When the Arabic text was translated into Latin, the translator (probably in Spain) mistook the Arabic word كلاب for kilāb, meaning "dogs", writing hastile habens canes ("spearshaft having dogs").

These spurious dogs floated about the astronomical literature until Hevelius decided to specify their presence in the sky. Hevelius named α CVn Asterion (now known as 'Cor Caroli') and the other as Chara; these names are Greek for "Little star" and "Joy" respectively. These were sometimes regarded as an independent constellation or at least an asterism. Canes Venatici is now one of the 88 official modern constellations.

Notable features



The constellation's brightest star is Cor Caroli (α² CVn), named by Sir Charles Scarborough in memory of King Charles I, the deposed king of Britain.[1] It is of magnitude 2.90.

La Superba (Y CVn) is a semiregular variable star that varies between magnitudes 4.7 and 6.2 over a period of around 158 days. It is a carbon star and is famous for being deep red. AM CVn, a very blue star of magnitude 14, is the prototype of a special class of cataclysmic variable stars, in which the companion star is a white dwarf, rather than a main sequence star. RS CVn is the prototype of a special class of binary stars[2] of chromospherically active and optically variable components.

Deep sky objects

Canes Venatici contains five Messier objects, including four galaxies. One of the more significant galaxies in Canes Venatici is the Whirlpool Galaxy (M51, NGC 5194) and NGC 5195, a small barred spiral galaxy that is seen face on. This was the first galaxy recognised as having a spiral structure, this structure being first observed by Lord Rosse in 1845.

Other notable spiral galaxies in Canes Venatici are the Sunflower Galaxy (M63, NGC 5055), Messier 94 (NGC 4736), and Messier 106 (NGC 4258).

Messier 3 (NGC 5272) is a globular cluster. It is 18' in diameter, and at magnitude 6.3 is bright enough to be seen with binoculars.


  1. ^ According to R. H. Allen (Star Names: Their Lore and Meaning), the star was named by Halley for Charles II "at the suggestion of the court physician Sir Charles Scarborough, who said it had shone with special brilliance on the eve of the king's return to London, May 29, 1660". According to Deborah J. Warner (The Sky Explored: Celestial Cartography 1500-1800), it was originally named "Cor Caroli Regis Martyris" ("The Heart of King Charles the Martyr") for Charles I. According to Robert Burnham, Jr. (Burnham's Celestial Handbook, Volume 1), "the attribution of the name to Halley appears in a report published by J. E. Bode at Berlin in 1801, but seems to have no other verification".
  2. ^ SIMBAD Query Result: RS CVn -- Variable of RS CVn type on the SIMBAD database


  • Ian Ridpath and Wil Tirion (2007). Stars and Planets Guide, Collins, London. ISBN 978-0007251209. Princeton University Press, Princeton. ISBN 978-0691135564.

External links

Coordinates: Sky map 13h 00m 00s, +40° 00′ 00″

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

CANES VENATICI (" The Hounds," or "the GREYHounds"), in astronomy, a constellation of the northern hemisphere named by Hevelius in 1690, who compiled it from the stars between the older asterisms Ursa Major, Bodtes and Coma Berenices. Interesting objects in this portion of the heavens are: the famous spiral nebula first described by Lord Rosse; a-Canum Venati-. corum, a double star, of magnitudes 3 and 6; this star was named Cor Caroli, or The Heart of Charles II., by Edmund Halley, on the suggestion of Sir Charles Scarborough (1616-1694), the court physician; a cluster of stars of the firth magnitude and fainter, extremely rich in variables, of the goo stars examined no less than 132 being regularly variable.

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Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary



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Named by the astronomer Johannes Hevelius in 1687. From Latin canes venatici (literally: "dogs of hunting")

Proper noun

Canes Venatici


Canes Venatici

  1. (astronomy) A dim spring constellation of the northern sky, said to resemble a pair of hunting dogs (Chara and Asterion) held on a leash by Boötes and following the bear Ursa Major.

Derived terms



See also


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