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Ursa Major (Great Bear (Dipper))

Month Best Visible


Hemisphere Visible


Except for Dubhe and Alkaid, the stars of the Big Dipper all have proper motions heading towards a common point in Sagittarius. A few other such stars have been identified, and together they are called the Ursa Major Moving Group. Mizar, a star in the Big Dipper, forms the famous optical double star with Alcor.

In Greek mythology, Zeus (the king of the gods) lusts after a young woman named Callisto, a nymph of Artemis. Hera, Zeus' jealous wife, transforms the beautiful Callisto into a bear. Callisto, while in bear form, later encounters her son Arcas. Arcas almost shoots the bear, but to avert the tragedy, Zeus hurls them both into the sky, forming Ursa Major.

Neighbouring Constellations

Bo├Âtes (Herdsman)

Camelopardalis (Giraffe)

Canes Venatici (Hunting Dogs)

Coma Berenices (Berenices Hair)

Draco (Dragon)

Leo (Lion)

Leo Minor (Little Lion)

Lynx (Lynx)

Picture of Ursa Major