Ursa Major

Ursa Major

A long time ago, Zeus fell in love with a mortal woman named
Callisto, who was a far-traveler and a huntress. In jealousy Hera, the wife of Zeus,
changed Callisto into a large bear. In a forest one day, Callisto’s son Arcas
chanced upon a huge bear. To his horror, the bear immediately started to run straight
toward him. Not perceiving that the bear was his mother, Arcas raised his javelin to
slay the bear. Zeus saw the tragedy that was about to happen, but not even Zeus could
undo the spell of Hera. The only alternative was to change Arcas into a bear like
Callisto, only smaller. To keep them safely together, and to make them immortal, Zeus
grabbed both bears by their tails, swung them around and around, and hurled them into
the sky. So much swinging stretched out their tails. Yet Hera had the last word,
moving them to the part of the sky which never sets. There Callisto and Arcas now
endure a weariness without rest until the end of the world.

Ursa Major, or the Great Bear is the third of 88 constellations by area. As this story states, it can be seen all year (northern hemisphere), meaning it is and has been a well known and easily recognisable constellation. Ursa Major is included in the ancient star catalogs of Eudoxos of Knidos, Aratos of Soli, and Ptolemy, in addition it is also mentioned in the Bible as “The Bear”. Seven of the stars that form the bear’s hindquarters and tail are known as the Big Dipper, an asterism or arbitrary sub section of the constellation. This part of the constellation is perhaps better known than the constellation it self. If you locate the Big Dipper it is very easy to locate Polaris (The North Star), a star used to navigate the seas for millennia.

The 7 stars that make up the Big Dipper:

  • Dubhe [α UMa]
  • Merak [β UMa]
  • Phecda [γ UMa]
  • Megrez [δ UMa]
  • Alioth [ε UMa]
  • Mizar [ζ UMa]
  • Alkaid [η UMa]

3 Responses to “Ursa Major”

  1. hey your blog design is very nice, neat and fresh and with updated content, make people feel peace and I always enjoy browsing your site.

    - Thomas

  2. I love your blog.. very nice colors & theme. Did you create this website yourself or did you hire someone to do it for you? Plz respond as I’m looking to design my own blog and would like to know where u got this from. thanks

  3. skela says:

    Yeah did it myself by using wordpress :D

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