Do you see it?
This common question frequently precedes the rediscovery of one of the
most commonly recognized configurations of stars on the northern sky:
This grouping of stars is one of the few things that has likely been seen, and will be seen, by
The Big Dipper is not by itself a
Although part of the constellation of the Great Bear (Ursa Major), the
Big Dipper is an
asterismthat has been known by different names to different societies.
Five of the
Big Dipper stars are actually near each other in
space and were likely formed at nearly the same time.
stars in the far part of the Big Dipper will lead one to
Polaris, the North Star, which is part of the
Relative stellar motions will cause the
Big Dipper to slowly change its
configuration over the next 100,000 years.
Pictured in late April, the
Big Dipperwas actually imaged twice -- above and
below distant Chilean volcanoes, the later reflected from an unusually calm lagoon.