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A Complete Guide to the Solar System and the Night Sky
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public Observing fromLocation: Greenwich, United Kingdom edit_location_alt
north SunriseRise: 7:41  
clear_day Transit: 11:47  
SunsetSet: 15:53 south
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All Constellations » Canis Major » 

Sirius - α Canis Majoris (alpha Canis Majoris)

Altitude: -18.3°   Azimuth: 94.1°   Direction: East

Sirius, also designated as α Canis Majoris (alpha Canis Majoris), is a multiple main-sequence star in the constellation of Canis Major.

Sirius visual magnitude is -1.46. Thanks to its high brightness, Sirius is clearly visible when observed from locations with dark skyes, and should be also quite easily visible from light polluted areas.

The table below summarizes the key facts about Sirius:


Sirius - α Canis Majoris (alpha Canis Majoris) is below the horizon from Greenwich, United Kingdom edit_location_alt.

Altitude: -18.3°
Azimuth: 94.1°
Direction: East

Celestial coordinates and finder chart of Sirius

Sirius is situated close to the celestial equator, as such, it is at least partly visible from both hemispheres in certain times of the year. Celestial coordinates for the J2000 equinox as well as galactic coordinates of Sirius are provided in the following table:

06h 45m 08s
-16° 42’ 57”
Canis Major

The simplified sky map below shows the position of Sirius in the sky:

Finder chart Sirius - α Canis Majoris (alpha Canis Majoris) star
Simplified finder chart for Sirius - α Canis Majoris (alpha Canis Majoris).

Visibility of Sirius from your location

Location: Greenwich, United Kingdom edit_location_alt
Latitude: 51° 28’ 47” N
Longitude: 0° 00’ 00” E
Timezone: Europe/London

Today's Sirius - α Canis Majoris (alpha Canis Majoris) rise, transit and set times from Greenwich, United Kingdom edit_location_alt are the following (all times relative to the local timezone Europe/London):

Azimuth: 106.7°
Max altitude: 21.8°
Azimuth: 253.3°

Digitized Sky Survey image of Sirius

The image below is a photograph of Sirius from the Digitized Sky Survey 2 (DSS2 - see the credits section) taken in the red channel. The area of sky represented in the image is 0.5x0.5 degrees (30x30 arcmins). The proper motion of Sirius is -0.553 arcsec per year in Right Ascension and -1.205 arcsec per year in Declination and the associated displacement for the next 100 years is represented with the red arrow.

Image of Sirius - α Canis Majoris (alpha Canis Majoris) star
DSS2 image of Sirius. The red arrow shows the motion of Sirius during the next 100 years (-0.92 arcmin in Right Ascension and -2.01 arcmin in declination);

Distance of Sirius from the Sun and relative movement

Sirius is distant 8.60 light years from the Sun and it is moving towards the Sun at the speed of 8 kilometers per second.

2.64 pc
8.60 ly
-8 km/s
-0.553 arcsec/year
-1.205 arcsec/year

Spectral properties of Sirius

Sirius belongs to spectral class A1 and has a luminosity class of V corresponding to a main-sequence star.


The red dot in the diagram below shows where Sirius is situated in the Hertzsprung–Russell diagram.

HR Diagram
H-R diagram showing the position of Sirius. Attribution: Richard Powell / CC BY-SA

Sirius star system properties

Sirius is a visual double star which can be observed only with the help of very large telescopes. The table below shows key information about the Sirius double sysyem:

11.2 arcsec

Alternative designations of Sirius

α Canis Majoris
(alpha Canis Majoris)
9 Canis Majoris
Gl 244 A