CMa - Canis Major the Big Dog

Intro and Visual description

South of Orion in the Winter Hexagon, near the horizon.

Special Stars

Sirius is the brightest star in the sky. Sirius takes its name from the Greek work for Scorching.

Origin and History

Canis Major is included in the ancient star catalogs of Eudoxos of Knidos, Aratos of Soli, and Ptolemy.

Skylore, Literature and Culture

One of Orion’s two faithful dogs, following him across the sky.

Sirius, called Sothis or the Dog Star, was significant in Egyptian mythology, and its heliacal rising signalled the start of the Egyptian year in the third millenium B.C.

This constellation has been associated with several mythical dogs, including the hound of Actaeon.

In Middle Earth, Sirius was known as Helluin (ice-blue), Nielluin, Niellune, or Nierninwa (tear- or bee-blue). (Rachel Magruder)