SPACE.com Download time: May 14 2011 9:50 AM ET
Soaring high in the eastern sky and almost overhead at around 10 p.m. local time this week are the two stars marking the Hunting Dogs constellation.
Known officially as Canes Venatici, the Hunting Dogs are currently visible, weather permitting, a third of the way from the end of the Big Dipper's handle and below it. These cosmic dogs were placed in the sky to assist another constellation — Boötes, the Bear Driver — in his daily task of pursuing the Big Bear (Ursa Major) around the pole of the heavens.
Unlike the star patterns of Canis Major and Canis Minor, which are the two faithful canine companions of Orion the Hunter and are considered separate constellations in and of themselves, the Hunting Dogs of Boötes are considered to be single constellation (hence the plural "Canes" as opposed to the singular "Canis").…
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