Delta Canis Majoris

δ Canis Majoris

Delta Canis Majoris is known as Wezen, "The Weight", apparently because it has trouble rising very high from the horizon.

The star is a yellow supergiant with a visual magnitude of 1.8; it's 1800 light years away.

Wezen forms the hub of a number of stars nicely seen in binoculars. And to the southwest one binocular field is epsilon CMa -- Adhara (The Virgins) -- a splendid double star for small telescopes: 1.5, 7.5; PA 162, separation 7.9"

Much more attractive, however, is the binary system about four degrees to the northeast of delta, h 3945. This is a golden primary with a blue companion: 4.9 6.1; PA 55 and separation 27", an excellent test for 10x50 binoculars.

Keeping delta in your field, move to the southwest nearly an entire binocular view; here is epsilon CMa, a quite fascinating star.

At one time, 4,700,000 years ago, it was the brightest star in the heavens, at -3.99 visual magnitude. Its name, Adhara (Virgins) refers to four of the CMa stars - besides epsilon, also delta, eta, and omicron2.

The star is a binary, but with such a bright primary, it takes a large telescope to resolve the companion: 1.5, 7.5; 162, 7.9".

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1999-2014 by Richard Dibon-Smith.