Ursa Major, one of the largest constellations in our sky
It's the third largest constellation in the sky — containing hundreds of stars that can be seen with the naked eye in the right conditions. This is Ursa Major. 🌟🌌
One of the best-known constellations in the northern hemisphere
There will never be a mistake to what is the Ursa Major. This famous constellation actually contains around 100 stars that can be seen with the naked eye in the right conditions. Many more can be seen if observation instruments are used. A constellation is a group of stars that appear to be close to each other and are given special meaning by a civilization. Ursa Major (“Great Bear”) is one of the best known constellations in the northern hemisphere, and it’s often compared to a bear trapped in the sky. It was known to both Greco-Roman and Native American cultures.
How did it become so important? First, its size: it’s the 3rd largest constellation in our sky. And second, its consistency: people living above the 41st parallel north can see Ursa Major every night of the year. Depending on the location, some constellations are visible only in certain seasons, appearing and disappearing over the year. But the rest are circumpolar, never disappearing below the horizon. To people living in North America or Eurasia, Ursa Major seems to always rotate around the North Pole. The Greek word for “bear,” arktos, is what the word “arctic” derives from. But over time, a common error emerged: people were confusing the Big Dipper with Ursa Major.
The Big Dipper is an asterism, a sort of mini-constellation that’s part of a larger group of stars. If you look closely, the Big Dipper is formed when you connect the 7 brightest stars of Ursa Major. Alkaid, Mizar, Alioth, Megrez, Dubhe, Merak, and Phecda. It’s also a reference point. If you extend the line linking Merak and Dubhe by 5 times its length, you reach the North Star, pursuant to the International Astronomical Union. But despite its size and fame, Ursa Major is only one of 88 constellations found in the night sky.