Canes Venatici ( Latin: hunting dogs) is a small northern constellation that was introduced by Johannes Hevelius in the 17th century. It represents the dogs Chara and Asterion held on a leash by Boötes.
Canes Venatici is one of three constellations that represent dogs, along with Canis Major and Canis Minor. The constellation's brightest star is Cor Caroli (α² CVn), named by Edmund Halley in memory of the king Charles I, King of England, or his son, Charles II. 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 of chromospherically active and optically variable components.
Notable 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.
he name of the constellation of Bootes means "herdsman". Some of its component stars were traditionally described as representing his cudgel, which in Greek was called Κολλοροβος. When the Almagest was translated from Greek to Arabic, the translator did not know the Greek word Κολλοροβος, but rendered it as the nearest-looking Arabic word: dhāt al-kullāb ذات الكلاب "having a hook", probably thinking of a shepherd's crook. When the Arabic text was translated into a Western European language, the translator mistook the Arabic word كلاب as kilāb = "dogs": Latin hastile habens canes = "spearshaft having dogs", which expression floated about the astronomical literature until Hevelius decided to find those dogs in the sky.
The northern of the two hunting dogs was named Asterion, and was sometimes regarded as an independent constellation or at least an asterism. The southern dog was named Chara. The name of the dogs still lives in the alternate names of α CVn.
The star α CVn was initially regarded as an independent asterism or constellation. Its full name was Cor Caroli Regis Martyris (after Charles I of England who was executed for high treason) , but irrespective of royal sympathies, such a name required abbreviation. Furthermore, the constellation contained just 1 star, α CVn, which in the end got the name Cor Caroli.
Bootes, Canes Venatici, Coma Berenices, and Quadrans Muralis
1. ^ SIMBAD Query Result: RS CVn -- Variable of RS CVn type on the SIMBAD database
2. ^ Linda Hall exhibit: Out of This World, page 15 (Manilius, Marcus)
* Ian Ridpath and Wil Tirion (2007). Stars and Planets Guide, Collins, London. ISBN 978-0007251209. Princeton University Press, Princeton. ISBN 978-0691135564.
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