Planet Earth
International Astronomical Union WGSN

IAU: Canis Minor

Profile / Characteristics

English translationLatin declination and pronunciationsSize/ °²# stars
the Lesser DogCanis Minor – CANE-iss (CAN-iss) MY-ner
Canis Minoris – CANE-iss (CAN-iss) mih-NOR-iss

Ancient Globes

Farnese Globe

Kugel Globe

Mainz Globe

missing (hand of Atlas)

two dogs accompany Orion

the lesser dog accompanies Orion who stumbles upon the Hare

Ancient Lore & Meaning


[449] There, too, by the Hydra beneath the Twins brightly shines Procyon. [594?] Up rises the Hydra’s head and the bright-eyed Hare and Procyon and the forefeet of the flaming dog. [690?] She [Argo] sinks wholly at the rising of Aegoceros, when Procyon sets too, and there rise the Bird and the Eagle and the gems of the winged Arrow and the sacred Altar, that is established in the South.

English translation by Douglas Kidd (1997).
Aratus: Phaenomena, Cambridge Classical Texts and Commentaries, Series Number 34

Online available: translation by Mair (1921) 


French translation by:
Jordi Pàmias i Massana and Arnaud Zucker (2013). Ératosthènes de Cyrène – Catastérismes, Les Belles Lettres, Paris

English version in:
Robin Hard (2015): Eratosthenes and Hyginus Constellation Myths with Aratus’s Phaenomena, Oxford World’s Classics

Early Modern Interpretation


As one of their first tasks in the 1920s, the newly founded International Astronomical Union (IAU) established constellation standards. The Belgian astronomer Eugène Delporte was assigned to the task to define borders of constellations parallel to lines of declination and right ascension. They were accepted by the General Assembly in 1928. The standardized names and abbreviations had already been accepted in 1922 and 1925.  

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