Stop #4 – Orion’s Dogs

The Great Dog: Canis Major

Canis Major

Canis Major

Orion doesn’t go hunting without his two loyal hunting dogs. Sirius is sometimes known at the “Dog Star”, because it’s the brightest star in Canis Major, the “Great Dog” constellation.

Follow Orion’s belt to Sirius, then go just a bit farther and you should see a triangle of stars that form the dog’s body: Aludra on the left, Wezen in the middle, Adhara on the right. Farther up and off to the right is the dog’s head, Mirzam.

The Winter Triangle

Winter Triangle

Winter Triangle

Sirius serves yet another useful function- it’s one corner of an asterism called the “Winter Triangle”. The Triangle is formed by Sirius, Betelgeuse (Orion’s left arm), and Procyon.

The Lesser Dog: Canis Minor

Procyon is the brightest star in the constellation Canis Minor (the “Lesser Dog”), and the the eighth brightest star in the night sky, as it’s only 11 light-years from Earth. If you can find it, then you’ve found Orion’s other dog.

Canis Minor is one of the simplest constellations – it’s only got two main stars! (So, yes, you’ll have to be creative if you want to see a dog in that.) The other star is Gomeisa.

Gomeisa

If you can find the Winter Triangle, you can find Canis Minor