Canis Major accompanies Orion across the skies, forever at the heel of the great hunter. The constellation has a nice star cluster for binoculars, M41.

Alpha Canis Majoris is better known as Sirius, which some authorities believe to be a distortion of a Greek word meaning "scorching". It is the brightest star in the heavens at -1.44 visual magnitude. The star is 8.6 light years away. The star is due south in early January. To the west of Sirius is beta Canis Majoris, called "Murzim" or 'The Announcer' which -- as you may imagine -- tells the world that Sirius is coming just behind.

Delta Canis Majoris is known as Wezen, "The Weight", apparently because it has trouble rising very high from the horizon. The star is a yellow supergiant with a visual magnitude of 1.8; it's 1800 light years away. Wezen forms the hub of a number of stars nicely seen in binoculars. Among these, to the southwest, is epsilon CMa -- Adhara (The Virgins) -- a wide double star. Much more attractive is the binary system to the northeast, h 3945. This is a gold primary and blue companion: 4.9 6.1; PA 55 and separation 27", an excellent test for 10x50 binoculars.

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