Canes Venatici

The Hunting Dogs

Abbreviation: CVn
Genitive: Canum Venaticorum

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Originally included in Ursa Major, the stars that make up this constellation were mis-identified in the Middle Ages as being the dogs of the herdsman Boötes, a neighbouring constellation. Finally, in the late seventeenth century, Polish astronomer Johannes Hevelius formally created this constellation of two hunting dogs. The northern dog he called Asterion and the southern dog Chara.

Notable Features

Designation Name Description
α2 CVn Cor Caroli Meaning 'heart of Charles', it commemorates the deposed Charles I of England and the restoration of his son, Charles II.
β CVn Chara The name of the southern dog is sometimes assigned to this particular star.
M3 This is one of the best-studied globular clusters in the sky and a medium-size telescope will resolve it into individual stars.
M51 Whirlpool Galaxy In 1845, the third Earl of Rosse used his telescope Leviathan to reveal the spiral structure of this object, the first galaxy (or nebula as it was then known) to be identified as having a spiral shape. This 'grand design' interacting spiral (it has a dwarf companion) is visible in binoculars.
M63 Lord Rosse also identified the spiral structure of this galaxy.
M94 This face-on spiral galaxy is a nice telescopic object.
M106 One of the largest and brightest nearby galaxies, it is similar to the Andromeda Galaxy.
C21 This irregular galaxy is often compared to the Large Magellanic Cloud.
C26 An edge-on spiral galaxy, it is a relatively close neighbour to our own galaxy.
C29 The bright nucleus of this spiral galaxy makes this object visible even to large amateur telescopes.
C32 Whale Galaxy This is one of the largest and brightest edge-on galaxies in the sky.