Constellation Canis Minor

 

With 183 square degrees, the constellation of the Little Dog (lat. Canis Minor) appears rather dainty in the sky. Its main star Procyon shines yet strikingly bright and white. The name comes from ancient Greek and means "before the dog", because Procyon rises before the brightest star of the Canis Major, Sirius.

How to spot Canis Minor

The constellation is visible everywhere on Earth except from the interior of the Antarctic. The best season to watch Canis Minor is winter. Its main star Procyon is easy to find due to its brightness south of Gemini and between the Unicorn and Orion.

Mythology

The Greeks connected Canis Minor to Orion or Bootes.

The more familiar version of the mythological origin of the constellation, however, comes from a Roman writer. According to him it is the little dog Maira, a faithful companion of Icarus. Icarus was murdered by herdsmen due to a misunderstanding of a self-made wine, whereupon Maira led the daughter of the family, the Virgin Erigone, to the body of his master. In order not to endure the pain of loss, she took her own life. Finally, she and the little dog were put into heaven.