Ursa Minor - The Little Bear

Last Updated February 7, 2019 by . First Published in 2012.

Learn about the constellation Ursa Minor - The Little Bear, location, facts, mythology, meteor showers and deep space objects.

Ursa Minor - The Little Bear

Ursa Minor is a constellation in the northern sky, the name of which means Small Bear in Latin. It is one of the 88 modern constellations, and was also one of the 48 listed by Ptolemy.

Location: Northern Circumpolar 15h RA 75° Dec

It is notable as the location of the north celestial pole, although this will change after some centuries due to the precession of the equinoxes. Ursa Minor contains an asterism colloquially known as the Little Dipper because its seven brightest stars seem to form a ladle, or dipper shape. The star at the end of the dipper handle is Polaris, the North Star.

Ursa Minor
Ursa Minor

Ursa Minor Mythology

The constellation of Ursa Minor, when including less visible stars which are still visible to the naked eye, vaguely resembles a bear (with an unusually long tail). In consequence, together with the nearby Ursa Major, it formed the basis of the myth of Callisto. The tail was said to have been lengthened, from that usually expected for a bear, due to the incessant spinning of the bear, by the tail, around the pole.

Ursa Minor Deep Space Objects

The Ursids, a prominent meteor shower that occurs in Ursa Minor, peaks between December 18 and 25. Its parent body is the comet 8P/Tuttle.

Northern Circumpolar
CamelopardalisCassiopeiaCepheusDracoLacertaUrsa Major
Ursa Minor
Northern Spring
AntliaBoötesCancerComa BerenicesCraterHydra
LeoLeo MinorVirgo
Northern Summer
AquilaCorona BorealisCygnusDelphinusEquuleusHercules
Northern Autumn
Northern Autumn
AurigaCanes VenaticiCanis MajorCanis MinorCetusEridanus
Southern Constellations
CircinusColumbaCorona AustralisCorvusCruxDorado
PhoenixPictorPiscis AustrinusPuppisPyxisReticulum
SagittariusScorpiusSculptorSextansTelescopiumTriangulum Australe


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