University of Edinburgh

BSL Astronomy Glossary - ursa major - definition

Definition: A constellation is a group of stars and Ursa Major is a constellation that looks a little bit like a large bear. It is sometimes known as the Great Bear. It is easy to spot in the night sky because the arrangement of seven bright stars, known as the Plough, forms the tail of the bear. It is easier to recognise that this constellation resembles a bear when imaginary lines or an artist's impression are superimposed on the stars. Long ago people enjoyed a story that related how Orion, the hunter, had grasped the bear by the tail and flung it into the sky, causing the bear's tail to stretch.