Ursae Minoris – The Little Bear, The Little Dipper
Ursa Minor is Latin for Little Bear, Ursa Minor is a constellation in the northern sky. The tail of the Little Bear may also be seen as the handle of a ladle, hence the name Little Dipper.
It was one of the 48 constellations listed by the 2nd century astronomer Ptolemy, and remains one of the 88 modern constellations. Ursa Minor is notable as the location of the north celestial pole, although this will change after some centuries due to the precession of the equinoxes.
Polaris, also known as the North Star is the brightest star in the constellation, Polaris is a yellow-white super-giant and brightest Cepheid variable star, ranging from apparent magnitude 1.97 to 2.00.
Beta Ursae Minoris is only slightly fainter, with its apparent magnitude of 2.08. Also known as Kochab, it is an orange giant star, 16 degrees from Polaris. Kochab and magnitude 3 Gamma Ursae Minoris have been called the ‘guardians of the pole star’.
I have included an illustrated version to I.D. the Stars & magnitudes (brightness), using the Little Dipper as practice you can learn how to judge a Star’s magnitude in the night sky!
Interesting Fact : Four stellar systems have been discovered to contain planets.
Ursa Minor – The Little Dipper & Polaris
Canon 6D DSLR & 58mm Lens, F4.0, ISO 1250, CG-4 Tracking Mount, a 48 second exposure captured at John Bryan State Park in Yellow Springs, Ohio on 09-22-2014.