The Deep Photographic Guide to the

The constellation of the month

Ursa Major

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Latin: Ursa Major (UMa)
English: Greater Bear Spanish: Osa Mayor
German: Großer Bär French: Grande Ourse

The best known part of the large constellation of Ursa Major is shown in the above photography. It is famous as the Big Dipper (see lines) or the Plough, but as part of the Greater Bear it represents the back and tail of the bear (see a full view here). For mid northern latitude observers the bright constellation can be observed all year long as it never sinks below the horizon.

In mid of April the above field culminates at about 22:00 LT (10 pm). The declination of Ursa Major's boundaries ranges from +29 to +73 degrees.

Ursa Major is full of interesting galaxies from which the brightest ones were listed by Charles Messier and can be marked in the above image. Another interesting point is that the five central stars of the Big Dipper show very similar motions in space, a hint that they form a physical association or maybe even an open star cluster, the closest cluster known!

© all photographs taken by Till Credner and Sven Kohle