Astro Glossary

  • Camelopardalis, the Giraffe

    A large but faint northern constellation. It represents the giraffe. A literal translation of its name means “the camel leopard,” indicating a combination of a camel’s long neck and a leopard’s spots.

  • Cancer, the Crab

    A constellation of the zodiac.

  • Canis Major, the Greater Dog

    A constellation containing the brightest star in the entire night sky, brilliant Sirius

  • Canis Minor, the Lesser Dog

    A small constellation containing one of the brightest stars in the night sky, Procyon. Canis Minor is the smaller dog of Orion, the hunter.

  • Canopus

    A rare yellow-white supergiant star 300 light-years away in the constellation Carina.

  • Capella

    A binary star system 46 light-years away in the constellation Auriga. Each member is 25 times larger than the Sun.

  • Capricornus, the Sea-Goat

    A constellation of the zodiac.

  • Caracol

    An ancient astronomical observatory in the Mayan city of Chichén Itzá, in Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula.

  • Carina, the Keel

    A southern constellation that once formed part of the larger constellation Argo Navis, the boat that carried Jason and the Argonauts in their quest for the golden fleece.

  • Cassini to Saturn

    A spacecraft that Cassini entered orbit around Saturn in the summer of 2004, and has transmitted tens of thousands of images of the planet and its rings and moons. On January 14, 2005, a second part of the mission, the Huygens probe, parachuted to a soft landing on Saturn’s largest moon, Titan. Its images showed a landscape carved by flowing liquid. Cassini’s instruments have peered through Titan’s atmospheric haze to discover lakes of liquid methane and ethane, extensive river networks, ice volcanoes, and giant dune systems on Titan’s surface. Cassini is scheduled to continue its reconnaissance of the Saturn system until 2017.

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