International Star Registry

All Constellations

Canis Major - Large Dog

Represented by a dog at the feet of the twins, southeast of Orion, the celebrated huntsman.

According to some mythologists, this constellation marks one of Orion’s hounds, placed alongside him to keep him company. Others say it honors the dog, Lelaps, given to Caphalus by Aurora, which was the fastest of all dogs. To prove his dog’s superior speed, Cephalus pitted him against a fox, which, until then, had the reputation Caphalus was now claiming belonged to Lelaps. After the two animals had run neck and neck for a long time, Jupiter was so delighted at the speed of the dog that he immortalized him in the heavens.

The name and form of this constellation no doubt was derived from the Egyptians. They carefully watched it rise and judged the swelling of the Nile (which they called Sirius) by it. Hieroglyphically, it was depicted as a dog since it was viewed as a sentinel and the clock of the year. Clever folks that they were; the Egyptians had noticed that when Sirius became visible in the east just before dawn, the Nile immediately overflowed. Sirius thus effectively warned them like a faithful dog that they must get out of the path of inundation each time the Nile banks overflowed.

Sirius is the brightest star in the sky and the closest star to our sun. It is easily located projecting southward through the three stars in the belt of Orion to the brightest star.
Right Ascension 06:48
Diameter (°)10
Area (square °)380
Opposition Jan 01
Size Rank 43rd
Brightness Rank 1st
GenitiveCanis Majoris