Ursa Major Constellation: Facts & Myths

Stargazing is one of the most peaceful activities that one could do. Not only does one find solace when doing that, but they also get to know so much more about the origins of the universe, as it is from above that we are all made of Stardust. Today, we are going to look at a constellation called Ursa Major and look at it in detail, form its significant to its importance; we are going to look at every aspect of it.

What is Ursa Major?

  • One of the most famous constellations that have been existing since forever is Ursa Major, not only is it favorable by people as it is extremely easy to spot, the legends surrounding it make it all the more interesting to know about it.
  • The constellation is also called as the Big Dipper or also as the great or larger bear owing to its mythological representations.
  • The constellation is also not supposed to be confused with another constellation with the same starting names, namely, Ursa Minor. Ursa Minor is the smaller version of Ursa Major and is also identical in shape but not size.
  • Let us look at the much involving Ursa Major It has strong roots in Greek mythology and concerns the Gods, as usual.
  • It starts with Zeus, the head of the Gods falling in love with a nymph by the name of Callisto who swears to not break her vow of chastity to Zeus’s wife, Artemis.
  • However, this clearly does not happen, and the two end up having a son together, by the name of Arcas. Zeus’ other wife Hera is extremely pained by this and in a leash of anger turns Callisto into a bear.
  • Unable to live peacefully with the new form, Callisto one day turns head to head with her son Arcas itself, and he almost turns to kill her. Zeus, watching the event from Olympus, decides to send them to the heavens by converting them into constellations which are Bootes and Ursa Major
  • In another depiction, Arcas is turned to Ursa Minor, revealing how mother and son have the same shape together, making more sense in the end.
  • This constellation is one of the most favored ones and has roots even in the ancient times, making it a hit with even new stargazers.
  • Once they get to know the myths surrounding the constellation as well, their interest levels surge and this, in the end, makes stargazing and learning constellations all the more fun!

Insights on Ursa Major

Having looked at the history of the constellation, it comes without a doubt the importance of the constellation quite marvelously. With roots to ancient times, especially that of Greek Mythology, this constellation has been on the radar, literally, with people being able to spot it at any given time of night, despite the season changes. It is one of the constellations which is also prominent in the northern hemisphere and certainly lights up the night skies with its luminosity and curiosity together to give something incredibly beautiful!