The origin of this star's name is not absolutely certain, but it is most likely named for Canopus, the pilot aboard Menelaus' ship when he sailed to the Trojan War to recover his wife Helen. This would make sense for a star within a constellation named for a ship (though Canopus did not in fact sail on the Argo, after which the constellationArgo Navis was named). Alternatively, there may be a connection with an old Egyptian port that also shared the name Canopus.
Canopus is a star of an unusual type that is that is difficult to classify with specificity, and there is some disagreement over the details of its physical properties. It was conventionally categorised as a bright yellowstar, and is classed as F-type in many older catalogues, but adjustments based on its rotational speed have led to a whiteA-typeclassification being preferred. Similarly, it is commonly classified in older sources as a supergiant (which would make it the closest supergiant to the Solar System) but more recent sources prefer to define it as a bright giant instead.
Regardless of the details of its classification, there is no doubt that Canopus is an immense and brilliant star. It is nearly seventy times the diameter of the Sun, meaning that, if it lay at the center of the Solar System, its outer layers would reach almost to the orbit of Mercury. It is highly luminous, producing some 14,000 times as much light as the Sun, and its surface temperature is about ten times greater than the Sun's.