Constellation - Canes Venatici

Constellation - Canes Venatici


The constellation Canes Venatici is otherwise known as the hunting dogs. As can be seen from the picture above it is very close to the Big Dipper. This is lucky because it makes it easier to find in the night sky. It is usually drawn with only two main stars and one of those is magnitude 4.3 making this a pretty dim constellation. Despite it's small size it packs some powerful punch in the deep space objects world. This constellation contains a number of galaxies including the lovely sunflower galaxy. Although M51, the whirlpool galaxy is offically found in Canes Venatici it resides quite close the Big Dipper and so, can be found in the Big Dipper page of the constellation guide. Likewise, M3 can be found on the Coma Berenices page.

The constellation is a modern one and doesn't have any mythology. It was invented by Johannes Hevelius in 1687 and depicts two hunting dogs being led by Bootes, the herdsman.

Title image by: Till Credner

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Canes Venatici.jpg
Number Object Description Magnitude Surface Brightness
1 M94 Galaxy 8.2 13.1
2 C29 Galaxy 9.8 12.7
3 M63 Galaxy 8.6 13.3
4 C21 Galaxy 9.6 13
5 C26 Galaxy 10.4 14

Each image is the size of a full moon for size comparison.



Messier 94, or NGC 4736 is a spiral galaxy that was discovered by Mechain in 1781. It is about 16 million light years away. It is considered to be a good target for a small telescope. It has an unusaul double ring appearance and is thought to have undergone a massive violent explosion in it's past. It is also noted to be thought to contain almost no dark matter. This causes problems as it doesn't fit into the theories as to how galaxies should form.



Caldwell 29, or NGC 5005 is a spiral galaxy that is found about 65 million light years away. The light from this galaxy that we see today set out when the dinosaurs roamed the Earth. The galaxy has a bright nucleus making it a good target for larger telescopes. This nucleus has an x-ray signature that suggests it is powered by a supermassive black hole at it's heart. C29 is part of a galactic pair. It's partner is the nearby NGC 5033.

M63, The Sunflower Galaxy:


Messier 63, or NGC 5055 is a beautiful spiral galaxy that is said to resemble a sunflower. It is just about visible in binoculars, but an 8 inch telescope can bring out some of the spiral structure. This was the first object that was discovered by Mechain on 14th June 1779. The galaxy resides 37 million light years away. There was a supernova witnessed in 1971 in M63. This galaxy is part of a galactic cluster that contains M51, the whirlpool galaxy. A night sky must look incredible from a planet orbiting a star from this galactic group.



Caldwell 21, or NGC 4449 is an irregular shaped galaxy found 12 million light years away. It was discovered by Herschel in 1788. It is part of the M94 group of galaxies and forms a bar shape. This galaxy has been heavily studied as it has a similar appearance to the Large Magellenic Cloud which is a satellite galaxy of the Milky Way clearly visible from the Southern hemisphere. 



Caldwell 26 or NGC 4244 is a relatively close edge-on spiral galaxy. It is only 6.5 million light years away. In galactic distances this isn't that far. 

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