The Deep Photographic Guide to the

The constellation of the month

Monoceros, Canis Minor

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Latin: Monoceros (Mon), Canis Minor (CMi)
English: Unicorn, Lesser Dog Spanish: Unicornio, Can menor
German: Einhorn, Kleiner Hund French: Licorne, Petit Chien
The small constellation Canis Minor can be seen in the upper left part of the photography and Monoceros in the center (see lines). Below is a part of Canis Major with its very bright star Sirius.

Canis Minor is easy to find in the winter sky with its brightest star Procyon (visual 0.4 mag), whereas the extended constellation Monoceros is quite faint. Alpha Monocerotis, the brightest star in Monoceros that is visible in the lower left part, has an apparent brightness of just 3.9 mag. In mid of February Monoceros culminates at about 21:30 LT (9 pm) and the position is on the celestial equator, i.e. a declination of 0 degrees just like Orion, which is to the west (right).

The galactic equator is crossing our field of view from the north to the south, including a couple of interesting deep sky objects. Most famous is the so called Rosette Nebula (visible as red object in the upper right), an extended circular HII-region with an enclosed young Open Star Cluster that ionizes the surrounding gas with its high energetic UV radiation. And a couple more Open Star Clusters can be identified in the above photography.

© all photographs taken by Till Credner and Sven Kohle