Canes Venatici (hunting dogs) Constellation

Canes Venatici (hunting dogs) Constellation — Location: Northern Hemisphere; Coordinates:
Right Ascension: 13h; Declination: +40; Source: Created by astronomer Johannes Hevelius around 1687

Hevelius was an observational astronomer who cataloged stars, and created some new constellations in parts of the sky where none had been marked out by earlier civilizations. The constellation of Canes Venatici, consisting mainly of two bright stars, is supposed to represent the two hunting dogs of Botes held on a leash.

Hevelius even named them, Asterion and Chara. The constellation, found in the sky between Botes and Ursa Major and Minor, forms a link between Botes, in his role as bear-driver, and the bears he is chasing, represented by the constellations Ursa Major and Ursa Minor.

Hevelius may have wanted to give a marker to this area of the sky because it contains interesting objects that are visible through the kind of early telescopes that were available to him.

Edmund Halley, the discoverer of Halley’s comet, began using an alternate name, “Cor Caroli”, or “heart of Charles”, for Asterion, which is the brighter of the two stars and really a double star system.

The alternate name is a reference to one of two 17th century English kings, Charles I, who was beheaded during Cromwell’s revolution, or his son Charles II, who “restored” the throne. There are stories which support each king as the intended namesake.



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