CANIS MAJOR (k?´-nis m?-jor)—THE GREATER DOG. (Face South.)
Location.—The three stars in Orion’s girdle point southeast to Sirius, the dog star, in Canis Major, the most brilliant star in the heavens. It was connected in the minds of the Egyptians with the rising of the Nile, and is receding from the earth at the rate of twenty miles a second.
The star ? is a triple. The cluster (41 M.) can be seen with an opera-glass, just below it.
Between ? and ?1 note a remarkable array of minute stars, also the very red star 22.
? and ? are doubles for an opera-glass.
Below ? there is a fine group.
Betelgeuze, in Orion, Procyon, in Canis Minor, and Sirius form a nearly equilateral triangle. These stars with Naos, in the Ship, and Phaet, in the Dove, form a huge figure known as the Egyptian “X.”
From earliest times Sirius has been known as the Dog of Orion. It is 324 times brighter than the average sixth-magnitude star, and is the nearest to the earth of all the stars in this latitude, its distance being 8.7 light years. At this distance the Sun would appear as a star a little brighter than the Pole Star.