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Canis Minor


Transit Date of principal star:
15 January


Canis Minor is Orion's second hunting dog, trailing behind in the skies. Much smaller than its mate, its only point of interest is in its principal star, Procyon.

The name means "Before the Dog", referring to the fact that this star rises just before Sirius (alpha CMa). At 11.44 light years away, Procyon is nearly as close to us as Sirius (8.65 ly).

There are only nine Bayer stars, which range from 0.38 to nearly sixth magnitude.


Double stars in Canis Minor

Procyon A and Procyon B form an extremely difficult binary. In fact the companion, which is a white dwarf with a diameter of only twice that of Earth's, was first seen only in 1896. Since then its orbit, which is nearly circular, has been calculated to be 40.65 years.

In 2000 the values are: 0.4, 10.3; PA 150, separation 4.6".


Variable stars in Canis Minor

Beta CMi is a gamma Cas type variable, fluctuating from 2.84 to 2.92.


Deep Sky Objects:

Canis Minor has no deep sky objects.


For a closer appreciation of Canis Minor, visit the Binocular Section.


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All files associated with The Constellations Web Page are
Richard Dibon-Smith.