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Transcript of CONSTELLATIONS
THE STARS CIRCLING AROUND POLARIS
(ie: circumnavigate, circumference).
Therefore; circumpolar constellations
. This makes the 5 circumpolar constellations visible throughout the entire year. Let's look at each!
1. Ursa Minor (Little Bear)
The Little Dipper is an
found in Ursa Minor. Polaris is the last star located in the handle of the asterism, the Little Dipper.
Polaris: The North Star
Polaris (or the North Star) is a good stating point when stargazing.
Polaris is aligned with the Earth's axis of rotation, it remains fixed
, with all the other planets and stars appearing to move around it. It is the one star that remains fixed at all times.
Cassiopeia was the wife of King Cepheus. She was very pretty and would often boast that she had her daughter were more beautiful than the sea nymphs, the Nereids.
They complained to Poseidon, who unleasued a monster (Cetus) onto Cepheus' land. In order to save their country, the king and queen sacrificed their daughter Andromeda. Just before the monster ate the princess, Perseus saved her.
Cassiopeia has a very distinct shape. She looks like a "W" or "M", depending on where she is. Some legends say that she was chained into the sky and sometimes hangs upside-down to remind others to remain humble.
Greek Mythology of Ursa Minor & Ursa Major
2. Ursa Major (Great Bear)
One of the most famous constellations in the Northern Hemisphere.
The body and tail of the bear make up the Big Dipper (an
of Ursa Major).
The Pictures in our Stars
When people thousands of years ago looked up at the night sky, they tried to explain what they saw. To them, the sky looked like an upside- down bowl and the stars were like points of light fixed on this bowl. They noticed that the stars made certain patterns.
We call these patterns
In Greek myth, Zeus was having an affair with the lovely Callisto. When his wife, Hera, found out, she changed Callisto into a bear! Zeus put the Great Bear (Ursa Major) in the sky along with the Little Bear (Ursa Minor), which is Callisto's son, Arcas.
Cephues is a house-shaped constellation named after an ancient king of a land called Ethiopia (not the same as current Ethiopia). He was married to Cassiopeia and had a daughter named Andromeda.
In Greek mythology, the conceited Cassiopeia got in trouble for her over-confidence. The Nereids complained of her to Poseidon (the sea god) who sent a monster to destroy Cepheus' land. The king and queen offered their daughter Andromeda to the monster, but she was saved by Perseus.
Draco the dragon is only visible in the Northern Hemisphere.
Draco's head is a trapezoid (4 stars) burning brightly just north of Hercules.
His tail slithers through the sky ending between the Big and Little Dippers.
There are a few Greek legends about Draco, one of which includes him being the guardian of an apple tree.
And Just a Couple of Other Important Constellations...
Hercules was responsible for killing the Nemean Lion, the giant beast that roamed the hills and streets devouring whomever it met.
His skin was so tough that arrows of iron, bronze and stone bounced right off. Hercules had to wrestle and choke the beast.
He then wrapped the lion's pelt around him to protect him from future battles. Leo symbolizes this lion in the skies.
One of the most commonly recognized constellations.
Named after Orion, a supernaturally strong hunter in Greek mythology.
One Greek myth recounts Gaia's rage at Orion, who dared to say he would kill every animal on Earth. The angry goddess tried to kill Orion with a scorpion (and this is why Scorpius and Orion are never in the sky together) however Ophiuchus revived Orion with an antidote.
This is said to be why Ophiuchus stands mid way between Orion and the Scorpion in the sky.