Constellations of Monoceros and Canis Minor
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Image and text ©2008 Akira Fujii/David Malin Images.

In the picture above north is at the top and the image covers 52.3 x 65.4 degrees.
Image centre is located at 06:32:21.6, -01:16:16 (H:M:S, D:M:S, J2000) Astrometric data from Astrometry.net.

Monoceros and Canis Minor (with Orion and the Winter Triangle)
Best seen in the early evening in January

Monoceros (the Unicorn) represents (yet another) mythical creature set among the stars. This one has the forelegs and (horned) head of a horse, the hindquarters of a stag and the tail of a lion. Such creatures are sometimes seen in Assyrian (~2500-600 BCE) carvings, and have been interpreted as originating in traveller's tales of the Indian or African rhinoceros.

The modern constellation sits astride both the Milky Way (and thus the Galactic equator, not shown) and the celestial equator. It is also enclosed on three sides by the bright stars of the Winter Triangle (Sirius, Procyon and Betelgeuse). Of course this refers to the northern hemisphere winter; these stars are equally visible in the southern summer and make Monoceros easy to find. However, the stars within the constellation itself are rather faint, though they can be joined tp produce a figure resembling a unicorn. The famous Rosette nebula is just visible in the only closed triangle of the constellation figure.

Canis Minor (the Lesser Dog) is sometimes regarded as the smaller of the two dogs of Orion the hunter. It is minor indeed, just 185 degrees square, and 71st in size of the 88 modern constellations. The most obvious and interesting object Canis Minor is its principal star, the pale yellow Procyon. Its name is from the Greek, meaning 'before the dog', since it rises before the Sirius, the Dog Star. Canis Minor and Orion each have their own pages.

Main named stars in this image (Greek alphabet)
Asmidiske (ξ Pup), Adara (ε CMa), Alhena (γ Gem), Alnilam (ε Ori), Alnitak (ζ Ori), Aludra (η CMa), Al Zirr (ξ Gem), Arneb, (α Lep), Bellatrix (γ Ori), Betelgeuse (α Ori), Cursa, (β Eri), Gomeisa, (β CMi), Meissa (λ Ori), Mintaka (δ Ori), Muliphen (γ CMa), Murzim (β CMa Nair al Saif (ι Ori), Nihel, (β Lep), Procyon, (α CMi), Propus (η Gem), Rigel (β Ori), Saiph (κ Ori), Sirius (α CMa), Tejat Posterior (μ Gem), Wezen (δ CMa).

Constellations adjoining Monoceros Canis Major, Canis Minor, Gemini, Hydra, Lepus, Orion, Puppis.
Constellations adjoining Canis Minor Cancer, Gemini, Hydra, Monoceros

Related images (see also under 'Related Images' on pages the below)
AAT 13.     The Cone nebula in the NGC 2264 cluster in Monoceros
AAT 14b.   The Fox Fur nebula and S Monocerotis
AAT 3.       The Henize 70 nebula in the LMC
AAT 35.     The Rosette nebula and NGC 2264 in Monoceros
AAT 79.     NGC 2346, a planetary nebula in Monoceros
AAT 91.     Trumpler 5, an old open cluster
AAT 96.     NGC 2261, Hubble's variable nebula in Monoceros
UKS 9.       The Rosette nebula and open cluster NGC 2244 in Mon.
UKS 29.     The Cone nebula and Trumpler 5 in Monoceros


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David Malin, 2009 October 15