It’s ‘Look Up at the Sky Day’!
Going to the dogs…
To celebrate, let’s look at Sirius, also known as the Dog Star. Sirius is the brightest star in the night sky, visible from almost anywhere on the the planet. Under the right conditions, it can be viewed with the naked eye in daylight. Sirius resides in the constellation Canis Major (Big Dog) hence the name Dog Star. The ancient Greeks believed that the appearance of Sirius heralded the beginning of summer, giving us the expression “Dog Days of summer”. To locate the Dog Star: Space.com:
Sirius is best seen at a favorable time during the winter months for northern hemisphere observers. To find the Dog Star, use the constellation of Orion as a guide. Follow the three belt stars — obvious targets even for casual skywatchers — 20 degrees southeast to the brightest star in the sky. Your fist at arm’s length covers about 10 degrees of sky.
A lesser known canine constellation is Canes Venatici (the Hunting Dogs). Again, from Space.Com:
Of the two stars that mark the Hunting Dogs, the brightest is Cor Caroli, known as the “Heart of Charles.”
A popular story is that the star was so-named by Edmund Halley in honor of King Charles II of England. However, upon delving deeper into this star’s history, it is found that this star’s original name was “Cor Caroli Regis Martyris” honoring the executed Charles I. Cor Caroli marks the position of “Chara,” one of the two hunting dogs in the mythological outline of the constellation. The other dog is named “Asterion” and is marked by the other, fainter star.
And finally, we have the unknown constellation, Canis Latrator . 8)