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Constellation Canes Venatici (Hunting Dogs)

Constellation Canes Venatici (Hunting Dogs)

The constellation of the Hunting Dogs (lat. Canes Venatici) spreads with 465 square degrees in the northern sky. It is formed by the stars Cor Caroli (α, heart of Karl) and Chara (β).

How to spot Canes Venatici

Canes Venatici lies between the constellations Bootes, Ursa Major and Coma Berenices. Below the Big Dipper, it can best be observed in the northern hemisphere in winter and spring.


In antiquity, the stars of the constellation were assigned to the Ursa Major. Later, around the ninth century, they were assigned to Bootes due to a translation error. In the translation from Greek into Arabic, the word for the "cudgel" of Bootes was missing, so it was described as "pole with hooks" (al-`asa dhat al-kullab). A confusion of "kullab" with "kilab" (dog) lead to the fact that today's hunting dogs were seen as a "pole with dogs" of Bootes.

The brighter star of the constellation is intended to commemorate the English kings Karl I and II. It is said to have shone particularly brightly on the day of his execution in 1649, so that the English cartographer Francis Lamb in 1673 named the star after him. It was in 1688 that the two stars were introduced as a separate constellation by Johannes Hevel.