Constellation Canes Venatici (Hunting Dogs)

Canes Venatici
Canes Venatici: IAU Constellation Map [150]


Canes Venatici is located south of the Big Dipper drawbar. It contains a number of faint stars, of which only the two brightest are clearly visible to the naked eye. The constellation contains numerous galaxies, which belong to a gigantic cluster that extends from Ursa Maior via Coma Berenices down to the Virgo. The area of this constellation is 465 square degrees and the center culminates at midnight on around April 7th. [9, 15]

Stars with Proper Names [154]
α2 CVn Cor Caroli
β CVn Chara
Data for constellation Canes Venatici [150]
IAU NameCanes Venatici
IAU GenitiveCanum Venaticorum
IAU Abbr.CVn
English NameHunting Dogs
Opposition8 April
Season (47° N)January … July
Right Ascension12h 06m 22s … 14h 07m 33s
Declination+27° 50' 38" … +52° 21' 35"
Area465 deg2
Neighbours (N↻)UMa, Com, Boo

Deep-Sky Object Descriptions


Constellation Canes Venatici
Constellation Canes Venatici: Illustration from «Prodromus Astronomiae» by Johannes Hevelius, 1690. Mirrored view from «outside of the celestial sphere» [19]

Mythology and History

The constellation was introduced in 1690 by the Gdańsk astronomer Johannes Hevelius in his work Prodromus astronomiae. For centuries it was considered part of Ursa Maior. It depicts the two dogs, Asterion and Chara, the bear guardian, who drive the bear around the celestial pole. [7, 51]

The brighter of the two striking stars is called Cor Caroli (Heart of Karl). According to folklore, the star was named by Edmund Halley in honor of King Charles II of England. It is said that the star shone particularly splendidly on the evening of the king's return to London in May 1660. Others claim that the original name was Cor Caroli Regis Martyris, in honor of Charles I, who was executed many years earlier. [88]


  • [7] «Der grosse Kosmos-Himmelsführer» von Ian Ridpath und Wil Tirion; Kosmos Verlag; ISBN 3-440-05787-9
  • [9] «Drehbare Sternkarte SIRIUS» von H. Suter-Haug; Hallwag-Verlag, Bern
  • [15] «Hartung's Astronomical Objects for Southern Telescopes» by David Malin and David J. Frew; Melbourne University Press 1995; ISBN 0-522-84553-3
  • [19] «Prodromus Astronomiae» Johannes Hevelius, 1690; DOI:10.3931/e-rara-456
  • [51] Eye On The Sky: Canes Venatici by Deborah Byrd; Astronomy 4/92, p.52
  • [88] The Starry Sky: Canes Venatici by Deborah Byrd; Astronomy 3/96, p.62
  • [150] IAU: The Constellations, 11. Oktober 2020;
  • [154] Yale Bright Star Catalog, 15. Oktober 2020;