THE BIG SKY

Canal Boat - - Boater’s Break - WITH SEB JAY

A night sky chal­lenge of the ca­nine va­ri­ety awaits boaters this March. Moor at a lo­ca­tion with open views to your south. As dark­ness falls you’ll see a bright star hov­er­ing low in the sky. It’ll likely twin­kle and per­haps flash. This is Sir­ius, the bright­est star in the north­ern hemi­sphere.

As your eyes ad­just more stars ap­pear be­low and around Sir­ius, and it is here where the chal­lenge be­gins. Sir­ius is part of a con­stel­la­tion called CanisMa­jor. That’s Latin for the “Great Dog”. Sir­ius it­self is known as the Dog Star, but can you see the out­line of a big dog leap­ing off the south­ern horizon in the stars around it?

Here are some point­ers. To the right of Sir­ius is a less bright but very no­tice­able star. Con­nect an imag­i­nary line be­tween the two and you’ll have the dog’s front leg and paw. To the lower left of Sir­ius is a peaked triangle of stars of sim­i­lar bright­ness. These form the dog’s hind leg and tail. A run of fainter stars track back to Sir­ius for the dog’s back, while to the left of Sir­ius is a triangle of dim stars rep­re­sent­ing the dog’s head.

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