Ursa Major


Clickable Image

Map created in Guide 7.0 with the figure outline based on Johannes Hevelius' Uranographia (1690). Click on the object's name to access its image or click on the name of adjacent constellation to see its map.


Ursa Major represents the Great Bear as well as the Wagon. That later connection dates bact to Mesopotamia, where Enlil, god of weather, was depicted riding it as chariot pulled by a winged dragon (Draco). Greeks had a quite similar arrangement, though Medea was the Wagon's rider. Another Greek myth, however, lists the Great Bear as the representation of Calysto, Zeus' lover, whom he had to hide in disguise from Hera. That endangered Calysto's life, as her son Arcas (Bootes) tracked her down with his dogs (Canes Venatici).


Among numerous deep sky objects in Ursa Major, a contrasting pair composed of M108 galaxy and the Owl Nebula (M97) offers the most interesting view.


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Jan Wisniewski