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  • Canis Major is a constellation in the southern celestial hemisphere. In the second century, it was included in Ptolemy's 48 constellations, and is counted among the 88 modern constellations. Its name is Latin for "greater dog" in contrast to Canis Minor, the "lesser dog"; both figures are commonly represented as following the constellation of Orion the hunter. The Milky Way passes through Canis Major and several open clusters lie within its borders. Canis Major contains Sirius, the brightest star in the night sky, known as the 'dog star'. It is bright because of its proximity to our Solar System. In contrast, the other bright stars of the constellation are stars of great distance and high luminosity. At magnitude 1.5, Epsilon Canis Majoris is the second brightest star of the constellation and one of the brightest sources of ultraviolet radiation in the night sky. Next in brightness are the yellow-white supergiant Delta at 1.8, the blue-white giant Beta at 2.0, blue-white supergiants Eta at 2.4 and Omicron¹ at 3.0, and white spectroscopic binary Zeta, also at 3.0.

Freebase Commons Astronomy /astronomy

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