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Hunt the deep sky in the Hunting Dogs

The Whirlpool Galaxy is just the start of a fantastic tour through Canes Venatici.
CanesVenatici
Canes Venatici (pronounced KAY-neez ven-ah-TEE-see) is one of seven constellations still in use that Polish astronomer Johannes Hevelius invented. In 1690, it was included in the star atlas Firmamentum Sobiescianum, sive Uranographia, published by his wife.

Canes Venatici is a constellation of the mid-northern sky. Its center lies at right ascension 13h04m and declination 40°30'. It ranks 38th in size out of the 88 constellations, covering 465.19 square degrees (1.13 percent) of the sky. Size doesn’t translate into visibility, however. It lies near the bottom of the constellation ladder (84th) in terms of overall brightness.

The best date each year to see Canes Venatici is April 7, when it stands opposite the Sun in the sky and reaches its highest point at local midnight. With respect to visibility, anyone living north of latitude 37° south can see the entire figure at some time during the year. It’s invisible only to those hardy souls south of latitude 62° south. From the Northern Hemisphere, the wonderful deep-sky objects in this constellation are easy to spot from February through July.

R. Jay GaBany

1. M94 (NGC 4736)

At magnitude 8.2, M94 is the brightest galaxy in Canes Venatici. Through an 8-inch scope, you’ll see the tiny nucleus surrounded by a bright disk that measures only 30" across. A much fainter oval halo surrounds the disk. Switch to a telescope of at least 16 inches aperture, and you’ll begin to see the tightly wound spiral arms close to the nucleus. 
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