Canopus is the second brightest star in the night sky, most easily visible in summer in the Southern Hemisphere. It is in the constellation Carina. The star is of a fairly rare type, considered a class F giant on the main sequence of stars. This means it has a mass close to that of our Sun.

Because the star's spectral class is not well studied, it is difficult to establish how far away Canopus is. Parallax measurements with the Hipparcos satellite have established it to be about 310 light-years away.

The star's apparent distance from the sun, as well as its brightness compared to the star field around it, makes it a good star for spacecraft to regulate their attitude in orbit.

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