Procyon – The Winter’s Other Dog Star

 

Map and Finderscope view courtesy of Mobile Observatory by Wolfgang Zima. Eyepiece depiction courtesy of Sky Tools 3, by Sky Hound. (Click the images to enlarge.)

 

Using Orion as a signpost to the stars (Click to enlarge.)

Using Orion as a signpost to the stars (Click to enlarge.)

January 15th, 2016

Procyon is a bright star, easily located to the east of Orion. Use the two stars of his shoulders – Betelgeuse and Bellatrix – to help identify it.

Through the finderscope (or binoculars) it appears as a brilliant white star with a wide, faint blue-white companion nearby. This companion appears about ten times fainter than Procyon itself.

The pair will still appear within the same field of view at 35x but you’ll also notice a scattering of many fainter stars in the background. In particular, look out for another faint star near Procyon and two others near the companion.

Procyon is the brightest of only two bright stars in the constellation of Canis Minor, the Little Dog. As with Sirius, the brightest star in Canis Major, the Great Dog, it follows Orion across the sky, just as the two dogs follow their master as he embarks on his winter hunting trips.

(They all seem totally oblivious to their prey, Lepus the Hare, which can be found below Orion. Maybe they’ve been distracted by Taurus the Bull, charging from the west.)

Again, like Sirius, Procyon is another bright, white star with a white dwarf companion that’s just under eleven and a half light years away. The pair orbit one another every forty years.

Text, map, finderscope and eyepiece depictions slightly adapted from my book, Easy Things to see With a Small Telescope, available in both Kindle and paperback formats from Amazon in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom.

 

All Astronomical Events for January 16th, 2016

15:24 UT – Mercury is at perigee. Distance to Earth: 0.667 AU. (1% illuminated, magnitude 4.4, diameter 10.0”. Sagittarius, not visible.)

Dwarf planet Ceres leaves Capricornus and enters Aquarius. (Magnitude 8.9, evening sky.)

 

Events in bold involve objects and/or events that are visible with the naked eye.

All times are in Universal Time (UTC). To convert the time to your timezone, click here.

Astronomical events taken from 2016: An Astronomical Year, available in Kindle and paperback formats from Amazon in the US, Canada and the United Kingdom. Night sky simulations created using Mobile Observatory for Android devices.

2016 An Astronomical Year Paperback Cover 2016 The Night Sky Sights The Astronomical Almanac 2015-2019 Kindle Cover - Deep Sky Observer's Guide

Easy Things to See With a Small Telescope

2016: An Astronomical Year 2016: The Night Sky Sights The Astronomical Almanac (2015-2019) The Deep Sky Observer’s Guide

(Kindle & Paperback)

(Kindle & Paperback) (Kindle & Paperback) (Kindle & Paperback)

(Paperback)

Amazon – US

Amazon – US Amazon – US Amazon – US Amazon – US
Amazon – UK Amazon – UK  Amazon – UK Amazon – UK

Amazon – UK

Details of all available books across the world can be found here or by visiting the author’s page on Amazon. If you have any comments or questions, please feel free to contact me at astronomywriter “at” gmail.com

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