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Cor Caroli is the traditional name for the binary star also designated Alpha Canum Venaticorum (? Canum Venaticorum, abbreviated Alpha CVn, ? CVn).
Alpha Canum Venaticorum is a binary star with a combined apparent magnitude of 2.81. The two stars are 19.6 arcseconds apart in the sky and are easily resolved in small telescopes. The system lies approximately 110 light years from the Sun.
It marks the northern vertex of the asterism known as the Great Diamond or the Diamond of Virgo.
In the western world Alpha Canum Venaticorum had no name until the 17th century, when it was named Cor Caroli, which means "Charles's Heart". There has been some uncertainty whether it was named in honour of King Charles I of England, who was executed in 1649 during the English Civil War, or of his son, Charles II, who restored the English monarchy to the throne in 1660. The name was coined in 1660 by Sir Charles Scarborough, physician to Charles II, who claimed the star seemed to shine exceptionally brightly on the night of Charles II's return to England. In Star Names, R.H. Allen claimed that Scarborough suggested the name to Edmond Halley and intended it to refer to Charles II. However, Robert Burnham Jr. notes that "the attribution of the name to Halley appears in a report published by J. E. Bode at Berlin in 1801, but seems to have no other verification". In Star Tales, Ian Ridpath points out that the name's first appearance on a star map was in the 1673 chart of Francis Lamb, who labelled it Cor Caroli Regis Martyris ('the heart of Charles the martyred king'), clearly indicating that it was seen as referring to Charles I.
In Chinese, ?? (Cháng Chén), meaning Imperial Guards, refers to an asterism consisting of ? Canum Venaticorum, 10 Canum Venaticorum, Beta Canum Venaticorum, 6 Canum Venaticorum, 2 Canum Venaticorum, 67 Ursae Majoris. Consequently, Alpha Canum Venaticorum itself is known as ??? (Cháng Chén y?, English: the First Star of Imperial Guards.)
The puzzle has two centres. One for a circle with threefold rotation. One for two concentric circles with sixfold rotation. It is still a doctrinaire puzzle.
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