Constellation - Ursa Major

Constellation - Ursa Major


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Ursa Major, or the Great Bear is a dominant constellation in the northern hemisphere. It contains the highly recognisable Big Dipper or The Plough asterism. This is one of the original 48 constellations described by Ptolemy. It can be seen all year round but is best seen in Spring. Ursa Major contains a very large number of deep space objects, which along with being an easily recognisable constellation makes it a must to enjoy exploring.

Make sure you observe M81 and M82. These two galaxies can be viewed in one field of view. One of the galaxies is face on and the other is end on.

The other great object not to miss is M51, the Whirlpool galaxy. This is an example of a galaxy in the process of devouring a smaller dwarf galaxy.

Mythology

In Greek Mythology the Great Bear is said to be the huntress Callisto, a nymph that Zeus lusts after. Learning of this Hera, Zeus' jealous wife has Callisto turned into a bear and so, the hunter becomes the hunted. Years later, Arcas, the son of Callisto nearly kills his mother whilst hunting but Zeus intervenes and turns them both into star constellations. Callisto became Ursa Major. 


Take the Tour:

The objects listed below can be found around The Big Dipper (the Plough). Click on the picture for information on how to find the deep space object.

C7:

C7









M81, Bode's Galaxy:

M81









M82, The Cigar Galaxy:

M82









C3:

C3









M101, The Pinwheel Galaxy:

M101









M102:

M102









M51, The Whirlpool Galaxy:

M51





.




M63, The Sunflower Galaxy:

M63









C29:

C29









M94:

M94









C21:

C21









M106:

M106









M109:

M109









M97, the Owl Nebula:

M97









M108:

M108









C48:

C48









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