Riding the wave

Hunting Dogs

Known in Latin as Canes Venatici, the hunting dogs Asterion and Chara chase the Big Bear, held on a leash by Bootes the herdsman, a neighboring constellation. The constellation was introduced in the northern sky by J. Hevel (Hevelius) in 1690, and includes some stars placed south of the helm of the Big Bear. The main star was named by Edmund Halley "Heart of Charles" in honor of Charles II, who in 1675 laid the foundation stone of Greenwich Observatory. It also includes four galaxies of which the most significant ones are the Whirlpool Galaxy and NGC 5195, a small barred spiral galaxy of which the spiral structure was first recognized by W. Parson, in 1846.