Pasachoff, Jay M. Hopkins Observatory, Williams College, Williamstown, Massachusetts.
Last reviewed:November 2019
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The Great Dog, a southern constellation at the feet of Orion (see illustration). It contains Sirius, at magnitude −1.4, the brightest star in the sky. Sirius is known as the Dog Star. Its heliacal rising—its first visibility at dawn during the year—came at a time that indicated that the annual, agriculturally useful Nile floods would soon begin. Its name led to the phrase “the dog days of summer.” Sirius is prominent in the winter evening sky. Its faint white-dwarf companion is difficult to detect in its glare, even using the required telescope. See also: Sirius
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