is a small constellation
, also known as the Small Dog or the Lesser Dog.
Mythology and Legends
Canis Minor was considered to be a water dog because of its proximity to the Milky Way, which used to be considered a river among the stars.
Canis Minor is normally associated with Orion, and is a companion to Canis Major. There is another legend surrounding the little dog.
Icarus was murdered, and his body lay undiscovered. His daughter Erigone searched in vain for the body. Mera, the family dog, saw how distraught Erigone was and set out to find his master. He did discover the body, and barked until Erigone came to see. She was so grief-striken that she hanged herself. Mera stayed with Icarus and Erigone until he died of old age and sorrow. The gods rewarded the dogs faithfulness by placing him among the stars.
The Greeks saw Canis Minor as Actaeon, a great hunter. He happened upon the goddess Diana as she was bathing. She changed him into a stag, and his dogs chased and killed him. Diana rewarded the lead dog by placing him in the sky.
Canis Minor is a very small constellation.
Procyon is a binary star system. It is 10 light-years distant, and is approching us at about 2 miles per second. Procyon is Greek for 'before the dog' because it rose just before Sirius, the dog star in Canis Major.