The Deep Photographic Guide to the

The constellation of the month

Canes Venatici, Coma Berenices

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Latin: Canes Venatici (CVn), Coma Berenices (Com)
English: Hunting Dogs, Berenice's Hair Spanish: Perros de Caza, Cabellera de Berenice
German: Jagdhunde, Haar der Berenike French: Chiens de Chasse, Chevelure de Bérénice

The small constellation of Canes Venatici is shown in the upper part of the image and Coma Berenices just below (see lines). To find them in the sky you should gaze from the tip of the big dipper, this star can be seen in the upper left of the photography, into southwestern direction.

In mid of April the above field culminates at about 23:00 LT (11 pm). The declination of these constellations ranges from +14 to +53 degrees. Brightest star in Canes Venatici is Cor Caroli, a double star with its brighter component being of visual magnitude 2.9. Coma Berenices is of poor visual appearance, the stars are all fainter then 4.3 magnitudes.

But a distinctive sign of Coma Berenices is the nice wide spread open star cluster Melotte 111, the Coma Cluster, which is easy to see by naked eye and an impressive view in a pair of binoculars. Further galactic deep sky objects are the globular clusters M 3 and M 53, but most famous is this region for its incredible number of galaxies. In Coma Berenice's direction is the galactic north pole and so there is just very minor galactic extinction to give a free view into extragalactic space. Two major galaxy groups are given, the rich Virgo-Coma galaxy cluster (lower right) and the Canes Venaticorum cluster (upper right).

© all photographs taken by Till Credner and Sven Kohle