Talk:Ursa Major

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Photograph for article[edit]

Big dipper.triddle.jpg

I tried to integrate this photograph into the article but it caused trouble with the text around the ursamajor-guide image. I hope someone in the future can find a way to integrate this into the article with out it causing damage to the article. Triddle 23:46, 31 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Ok, nice photo. How's it look now? I put it in the notes field of the infobox. If it could be cropped on the right, it would make the fainter stars look better. -Wikibob | Talk 00:18, 2005 Apr 1 (UTC)
Nice! Thanks =) I cropped the photo to just Ursa Major now and it sure looks better. Triddle 04:16, 1 Apr 2005 (UTC)


The article should explain how the constellation looks like a bear. I can't see it myself. --JimmyTheWig 11:38, 30 August 2005 (UTC)

I included this image. Does it make sense now? --KRISTAGAα-ω 12:33, 13 September 2005 (UTC)
The drawing Hevelius made of Ursa Major. Note that the drawing is mirrored to match the view in a telescope
Makes sense, but I still think it is very tenuous! Ok, the tail looks a bit like a tail, but I fail to see how four stars in a trapezium that make up half the bear's body mean the constellation is a bear. Bizarre.

--JimmyTheWig 15:20, 13 September 2005 (UTC)

I suspect you're considering the Big Dipper as being equivalent to the constellation Ursa Major; the Dipper is only part of it. Strictly speaking, the Big Dipper is an asterism, not officially a constellation. The Hevelius picture is not very clear to me either. I've seen other pictures that make it more clear. There are some stars that suggest legs and paws, and there's a triangle for the head. But there is something funny. Think about it; have you ever seen a bear with a long tail? 14:45, 6 November 2007 (UTC)Stephen Kosciesza

Big Dipper v. Ursa Major[edit]

I changed's edit of October 13th back to read Big Dipper instead of Ursa Major when discussing the asterism of the Big Dipper that is part of the larger constellation.--Kalsermar 00:04, 14 October 2005 (UTC) but ursa major is more of a sintific name!!!! —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:02, 7 January 2010 (UTC)

Plough only[edit]

The picture at the top only shows The Plough (aka The Big Dipper in the US) not the whole constellation of Ursa Major. It provides a link to a diagram of The Plough, so why isn't there one of all of Ursa Major? --Jcvamp 16:28, 8 June 2006 (UTC)

Which picture are you referring to? The one in the infobox at the top is of the whole constellation.--Kalsermar 16:34, 8 June 2006 (UTC)

I was refering to the picture at the top, and the whole constellation isn't highlighted, only the asterism of 'The Plough'.--Jcvamp 07:10, 6 August 2006 (UTC)

The way how lines are drawn in a constellation map is more or less just aesthetics. The constellation maps here on Wikipedia seem to follow rather minimalistic style.--JyriL talk 08:52, 6 August 2006 (UTC)
aesthetics or not, the way the stars are highlighted right now is confusing and might make a lot of people think that the big plough/big dipper is actually ursa major and i doubt that's what the article should go after. Private meta 08:40, 23 August 2007 (UTC)

Wider table[edit]

You should add right ascension, declination, absolute magnitude and spectral type to every star table. For the right ascension and declination, you should put the digits of seconds down to hundredths. For the absolute magnitude, don't put the plus sign if it is positive and put the minus sign before negative. For spectral type, you must put the spectral letter, a number, a luminosity class, and other like peculiar lines (p) and m.... lines (m). For the distance, you should add the known distances to the blanks like a lot of Flamsteed stars and Bayer stars with Latin letters. And also correct the distances that I added from the parallaxes in alcyone software that is only down to thousands but it should be down to hundredth-thousandths or it should be in milliarcseconds down only to hundredths. If it is wrong, you must change it and causes the correction of absolute magnitude. The table below lists in order from left to right is shown.

Bayer designation {BD} || Flamsteed designation {F} || Names and other designations || Right Ascension || Declination || Apparent magnitude {App Mag} || Absolute magnitude {Abs Mag} || Distance (Ly) || Distance (Pc) || Spectral type || Comments —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 17:44, 22 December 2006 (UTC).

The list should be moved to List of stars in Ursa Major (cf. List of stars in Andromeda). It doesn't belong to the main article.--JyriL talk 22:19, 23 December 2006 (UTC)


Is the given IPA pronunciation British? I ask because it doesn't have any R sound in it.

Capitalization bug[edit]

On this page and the Ursa Minor page, the capitalization in the box at the right has the second word lowercase. This makes the link to the list of stars not work right, and if you change it the star map will not work. How can this be fixed?

Rdl381 20:01, 15 May 2007 (UTC)


According to the article "47 Ursae Majoris has a planetary system with two confirmed planets, 2.54 times and 0.76 times the mass of Jupiter." Does anyone know what the names or numbers of these planets are? Vsst 02:30, 14 July 2007 (UTC)

Origins of the name[edit]

The page originally read:

The origin of the name is a mistake founded on approximate sounds. Rakh is Sanskrit for "to be bright" the Greeks corrupted this to the word arktos which means bear. The Romans called it Ursa the bear, and Septemtriones the seven ploughing oxen which lead to Septentrional signifying the north.

The idea that it came from a corruption of "rakh" seems just as probable as the word "Greek" coming from people interpreting the Hellenes sounding like "greek greek greek greek" when they spoke. I also know that arktos shares the indo-european root "arth" which means "bear" which is also present in sanskrit. אמר Steve Caruso 04:45, 18 November 2007 (UTC)


The paragraph read:

Formerly, Ursa Major and Ursa Minor were associated with the Hesperides. These two groups of stars, together with Libra, Boötes and Draco, may have inspired the myth of the apples of the Hesperides, one of The Twelve Labours of Hercules. In Hindu mythology the seven stars are identified with seven sages and the constellation is called Saptarshi Mandalam.

As the last sentence has nothing to do with the rest of the paragraph, it would normally be separated out to stand on its own. However, as the subject is not Ursa Major as a whole, but only the Big Dipper, I have deleted it instead. (A similar sentence already appears in the Big Dipper article.)

It is hard to imagine how the southern constellation Libra could be associated in a myth with four northern circumpolar groups. It seems that its inclusion here is an error due to a misunderstanding of a line in the article Draco: "Due to its position and nearby constellations in the zodiac sign of Libra (i.e. Ursa Major, Ursa Minor, and Boötes), the group of constellations can be seen to tell the tale of the eleventh labour."

On the other hand, one wonders at the exclusion of Hercules from the group. I have, therefore, substituted Hercules for Libra, and rewritten the paragraph.

B00P (talk) 10:20, 22 May 2008 (UTC)

Merge proposal - Delaware Diamond[edit]

The stub article Delaware Diamond is a single line note regarding the location of a star that has been adopted as a symbol for the U.S. State Delaware. It has a citation (to Delaware legislature). I do not see a significant advantage to having this (sub)stub exist as a standalone article at this time, but I do not think the information should be removed from Wikipedia, either. Thus my proposal to merge. --User:Ceyockey (talk to me) 10:24, 29 May 2008 (UTC)

There is no star called "Delaware Diamond". This isn't something they bought off one of those "name a star" companies, is it?Skeptic2 (talk) 15:55, 29 May 2008 (UTC)
I believe so, yes. There is likely an official designation, inclusion of which would be a prerequisite for merging, I think. I have not done any checking for more information yet, but I do plan to do so. --User:Ceyockey (talk to me)
Of course there is a star called "Delaware Diamond" ... not by astronomers however. I don't know in what epoch the coordinates 9h40m44s/+48°14'2" was specified, presumably the generally used epoch when 72 Del. Laws, c. 398, § 1 was founded, but in Uranometria 2000/Tirion, Rappaport, Lovi, the star has coordinates circa (epoch 2000.0, what else?) 9h42.7m/+48°26' and magnitude 6. I've not found the HR identification yet. The star name should be in some culture section, not in the notable features section, since the usage of the name is presumably much rarer than any "traditional" star name, however long and tongue-wrestling. I believe there's nothing such as a committe for naming stars, stars get the names that the culture gives them. Said: Rursus 10:15, 17 June 2008 (UTC)
SIMBAD gives:
HD 83869 -- Star
RA: 09h 42m 43.09s,
δ: +48° 25' 51.60",
mv: 6.362
Spectral type: A0 ("white" or "bluish"),
other designations: BD+49 1868, HR 3854, Boss 13379 (= GC 13379), SAO 42990, HIP 47633, TYC 3429-1699-1.
the star has no Bayer or "Flamsteed" (Lalande) designation. Said: Rursus 10:27, 17 June 2008 (UTC)
BTW, go ahead, merge! Keep info and merge! Thank you for notifying us. Said: Rursus 10:30, 17 June 2008 (UTC)
The star is 12th magnitude [1]. So, it's not HD 83869. According to [2], the star was designated on June 30, 2000, so the coordinates are probably using the 2000.0 equinox. USNO-B1.0 has a suitable star, 1382-0236829. Unfortunately, the name was purchased from the International Star Registry. Spacepotato (talk) 18:54, 17 June 2008 (UTC)
From the information given by Delaware, it's impossible to identify the star. Simbad doesn't come up with anything at the given coordinates. I think we should just forget about this. Skeptic2 (talk) 20:06, 17 June 2008 (UTC)
SIMBAD only has stars which have been studied. USNO-B1.0 has complete coverage down to V=21 [3], and a VizieR search [4] finds that USNO-B1.0 1382-0236829 is the only star in this catalog with the given coordinates. In fact, there is no other star of comparable brightness within 2 arcminutes. So, I think it's safe to say that this is the star. Anyway, I don't think that this is suitable material for merging to Ursa Major. Spacepotato (talk) 20:28, 17 June 2008 (UTC)
From the information given on your link that star is not even 12th magnitude. Delaware has been sold a pup, methinks. I agree with your final statement. Skeptic2 (talk) 00:03, 18 June 2008 (UTC)

If you draw an imaginary line from Merak through Dubhe out of the cup of the dipper (see the picture above) and continue five times as far as Dubhe is from Merak, you will arrive at Polaris, the North Star. Now draw an imaginary line along the handle of the dipper and continue the arc across the sky. Eventually this will lead you to the very bright star, Arcturus in the constellation Boötes. If you continue the arc further, you will reach Spica in Virgo. You can remember this by saying "Arc to Arcturus and Speed to Spica." If you follow the other two stars in the cup of the dipper (Megrez and Phecda) down below the cup, you will get to Regulus.html, the brightest star in Leo. According to some Native American legends, the bowl of the Big Dipper is a giant bear and the stars of the handle are three warriors chasing it. The constellation is low in the sky in autumn evening sky, so it was said that the hunters had injured the bear and its blood caused the trees to change color to red.

Although the whole of Ursa Major is difficult to see without very dark skies, the Big Dipper is one of the most recognizable patterns in the northern sky. In other cultures it was identified as a wagon or cart, a plow, a bull's thigh, and (to the Chinese) the government.

The Big Dipper was also a very important part of the Underground Railroad which helped slaves escape from the South before the Civil War. There were songs spread among the slave population which included references to the "Drinking Gourd." The songs said to follow it to get to a better life. This veiled message for the slaves to flee northward was passed along in the form of songs since a large fraction of the slave population was illiterate. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:00, 7 January 2010 (UTC)

My project[edit]

I have been doing a project with a few of my buddys. We found out a lot of wikipedia's stuff is NOT true. A reason: any buddy can come in and go completly off topic.

                                       By: M.N.  —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:48, 15 January 2010 (UTC) 

Hpş = Ursa Major[edit]

in Ancient Egyptian language. Böri (talk) 15:58, 14 June 2011 (UTC)

Biblical References in Mythology[edit]

Biblical references to the Bear or Arcturus are limited to the Book of Job. The article cites Amos 5:8 which in most translations refers to the seven stars of the Pleiades (next to Orion). In reviewing over 15 translations of the Bible, I can only find one (Douay-Rheims Bible) that refers to Arcturus in Amos 5:8. Should this reference remain as it does not appear to be reliable? Robert Currey talk 01:39, 24 December 2011 (UTC)

When looking into this further, I notice that Arcturus is in the constellation Bootes and not in Ursa Major anyway, so unless someone can provide a reference to the Bear or Ursa Major, I can see no reason to keep the Amos reference. Robert Currey talk 01:57, 24 December 2011 (UTC)


There are two asterisms mentioned in great detail (plough and gazelle), including the nature of them. However there are many others on the Big Dipper article. Shouldn't this be either expanded to include them all, or simply referring to the other article? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:39, 19 April 2013 (UTC)

Name: Great Bear[edit]

What sources do we have for the claim that "Great Bear" names the astronomical constellation as opposed to the traditional asterism? --Macrakis (talk) 18:51, 10 January 2016 (UTC)

Here's a new naked eye view if someone wants to incorporate it[edit]

Here's a photo I took myself and animated to show the dipper and the bear with lines connecting the stars. The lines are more in line with the IAU image than the photo provided under ==Notable features==. If I were to redo it, I would leave the title "Ursa Major" at the bottom throughout the animation instead of just having it appear on the last frame.

Ursa Major animated gif

馬太阿房 (talk) 18:31, 19 April 2016 (UTC)

File:Sidney Hall - Urania's Mirror - Ursa Major.jpg to appear as POTD soon[edit]

Hello! This is a note to let the editors of this article know that File:Sidney Hall - Urania's Mirror - Ursa Major.jpg will be appearing as picture of the day on August 16, 2017. You can view and edit the POTD blurb at Template:POTD/2017-08-16. If this article needs any attention or maintenance, it would be preferable if that could be done before its appearance on the Main Page. — Chris Woodrich (talk) 01:28, 3 August 2017 (UTC)

Ursa Major
Ursa Major is a constellation in the northern sky. Its Latin name means "greater (or larger) she-bear", standing as a reference to and in direct contrast with nearby Ursa Minor, the lesser bear. It was one of the original 48 constellations listed by Ptolemy in the 2nd century AD, and is now the third largest constellation of the 88 modern constellations. Ursa Major is visible throughout the year from most of the northern hemisphere, and appears circumpolar above the mid-northern latitudes. It includes the highly recognizable asterism known as the Big Dipper (US) or the Plough (UK).Illustration: Sidney Hall; restoration: Adam Cuerden

Mythology - Javanese[edit]

Mythology section, listing Javanese name as Bintang Kartika, further mentions Sanskrit origin krittika कृत्तीका. Can someone verify this. In Indian astronomy, Saptarshi (Ursa Major) and Krittika Kṛttikā (Pleiades) are two different constellations.