Canes Venatici


This constellation represents the hunting dogs, Asterion and Chara. The dogs are associated with Boötes the herdsman. In one story the two dogs are assisting Boötes in chasing the bear around the pole. Canes Venatici was created by Hevelius of Danzig and first appeared in his posthumously published star atlas in 1690. Prior to that the stars had been included as part of Ursa Major. The star Cor Caroli is said to mean the "heart of Charles" and was so named by Edmund Halley in honor of King Charles II of England.

For the Observer

The Stars of Spring

Alpha Canes Venatici, Cor Caroli( 12h 56m +38° 19') is a great double star for those with binoculars or small telescopes. Cor caroli is a blue class AO star with a magnitude of 2.8 and is 120 light years distant. It is a peculiar star in that it's spectral lines are variable. There are strong lines of strontium, silicon, and chromium which show a variation in strength over time. The companion star has a magnitude of 2.9 and is a yellow star. Cor Caroli has a transit date of May 22nd.

M51 (NGC 5194-5)the Whirlpool Galaxy( 13h 27m .8 +47° 27') is a beautiful spiral galaxy but it takes at least an 10 inch scope under dark skies to reveal any spiral details. It is roughly 15 million light years distant. M51 has a companion irregular galaxy NGC 5195.

M3 (NGC 5272) ( 13h 39m .9 +28° 38')is a globular cluster 30,000 light years distant. The cluster has about 170 visible stars in it. At a magnitude of 6.4 the cluster is not hard to find and is a worthwhile sight in small telescopes.

M63 (NGC 5055) ( 13h 13m .5 +42° 17') is a spiral galaxy with a visual magnitude of about 8.3. In small telescopes it appears as an oval with uneven brightness. Larger telescopes reveal more detail if low power is used.

M94(NGC 4736) ( 12h 48m.6 +41° 23') is a spiral galaxy seen nearly face-on. It has a magnitude of 7.5 and a distance of just over 14 million light years. In small telescopes the bright central disk and a larger scope under dark skies will reveal the spiral arms.

M106 (NGC 4258) (12h 16.5m +47°35') is a large elongated spiral galaxy, fairly bright and easy to find at 9th magnitude.

Copyright © 1995 - 2003
Kathy Miles, Author, and Chuck Peters, Systems Administrator