Twin City Amateur Astronomers
All Constellations

Ursa Major

Big Bear
MythologyMetricsTargetsStar Names
Ursa Major, or the Great Bear, is a northern constellation that high in the sky during spring and early summer. The main stars of the constellation make up one of the best known asterisms, the Big Dipper. In Mythology, Ursa Major is said to be Callisto, a beautiful maiden that Jupiter took as a lover. Enraged, Juno turned Callisto into a bear. One day, the bear encountered a young herdsman that turned out to be her son who was about to kill the bear when Jupiter intervened placing both in the sky as the Great and Small Bears. Juno was incensed at her rival’s heavenly place and prevailed upon Oceania and Tethys, the ocean gods, to prevent the bears from ever entering the sea. Thus their place became near the polar circle where they never set.