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Canes Venatici, the Hunting Dogs ⬅︎

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Although Canes Venatici is a small, dim constellation, it is easy to find because it is found between the handle of the Big Dipper in Ursa Major, and the very bright star Arcturus in Bootes.

Many of our constellation names are ancient. But this constellation was named more recently (in the late 1600's) through a mistranslation of an older name. Canes Venatici means the Hunting Dogs. The two brightest stars are thought to be the dogs of Bootes, the Herdsman, who is chasing Ursa Major, the Big Bear, to protect his flock.

The brightest star, Cor Caroli, which means the heart of Charles for a king of England, is actual two stars, one bright and one dim. A telescope is needed to split them.

Two popular DSOs include the ever-popular Whirlpool Galaxy, also known as M51, and a distant globular cluster known as M3. See links below.
Viewing Canes Venatici, the Hunting Dogs
LevelEasyRatingBest ViewingApril to early June
FindIn Spring, face north and look up to find the Big Dipper. Follow the arc of the handle to bright star Arcturus in Bootes. Between the handle and Arcturus is Canes Venatici.
Find the main stars of Canes Venatici including Cor Caroli. Try drawing the constellation with stars, lines and labels.
With binoculars many more stars will be visible. The Whirlpool Galaxy can be viewed in binoculars from a dark site. See the link below. Take time to explore.
Try to split Cor Caroli into two stars, one bright and one dim.
▶︎ Constellations of Spring  ▶︎ Canes Venatici  ▶︎ Whirlpool Galaxy