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Canis Minor and Monoceros
The Pup and the Unicorn


Mythology - Canis Minor or Lesser Dog is often called the Pup by astronomers and is one of two hunting dogs helping Orion in his chase. Monoceros is a comparatively recent addition to the menagerie, only finding its way onto star charts around 1620. In Greek mythology the unicorn was the symbol of purity and innocence and could only be seen by mortals who were pure of heart themselves. This might explain why most people cannot see anything in this empty area of sky!
Stars - Beta monocerotis is revealed to be a fine triple system through a telescope.
Deepsky - The Rosette Nebula in Monoceros (NGC 2237) is a challenge with large binoculars, requiring clear skies to distinguish the faint smoke ring. Monoceros also has three good binocular clusters: M50, NGC 2264 (also called the Christmas Tree) and the cluster at the centre of the Rosette Nebula (NGC 2244) which appears to have a distinct parallelogram shape.
Visibility - Both Canis Minor and monoceros are best seen between February and April .