What The Constellation Ursa Major Looks Like

Table of contents:

What The Constellation Ursa Major Looks Like
What The Constellation Ursa Major Looks Like

For the inhabitants of the Northern Hemisphere, the view of this constellation, which looks like a bucket with a handle, is familiar and most easily recognizable. In the spring it is overhead, at the zenith, with a handle towards the east. The north of the autumn night sky is adorned with a ladle with a handle facing the west. In the east, put on the handle, the bucket hangs in winter. And in the summer, turned upward with the handle, it goes to the western part of the firmament.

In a circle - a double star Alkor-Mizar
In a circle - a double star Alkor-Mizar


Step 1

The group of stars that includes the most prominent part of any constellation is called asterism. Such an asterism is the fragment of the Big Dipper, which received at different times and among different peoples the names Plow, Ladle, Elk, Cart, Seven Wise Men and even Burial Stretcher and Mourners.

Step 2

The most famous stars of asterism have Arabic names. Four say that they constitute the imaginary body of an animal: Dubhe (bear), Merak (loin), Fekda (thigh), Megrets (beginning of the tail). The sad comparison with the hearse is reminiscent of the name of the last star in the handle of the Bucket - Alkaid (or Benetnash). In Arabic, both of these names merge into one expression: the leader of the mourners sounds like "our al-Qaed benet".

Step 3

Since ancient times, there has been a way to test visual acuity with the help of the Big Dipper, more precisely, the middle star in the handle of its bucket. It bears the name Mizar and has a neighbor Alcor, invisible to myopic people. This stellar pair is also an independent asterism Horse and Rider. Attention: asterism, but not a translation of the names, since Mizar means "loincloth" or "sash, belt", and Alcor means "insignificant", "forgotten". There is a Latin proverb, the meaning of which is similar to the expression “I didn’t notice an elephant” from Krylov's fable: “Alcor sees, but does not notice the Moon (Vidit Alcor, at non lunam plenam)”. But in Indian astrology, a double star is a symbol of marriage, a married couple Vasishtha and Arundhati.

Step 4

In the constellation Ursa Major, outside the pronounced Bucket, there is another interesting asterism known in Arab astrology - Three Jumping Gazelles. These are three pairs of stars at the same distance from each other, located on one straight line and similar to hoof tracks left by a gazelle.