Q:

What is a constellation near the North Star?

A:

Quick Answer

The North Star, also known as Polaris, is a part of the constellation Ursa Minor. Ursa Minor is also referred to as the Little Bear or the Little Dipper.

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Full Answer

The North Star is the final star in the handle of the Little Dipper or Ursa Minor constellation, which is composed of a total of seven stars. The nearby constellation the Big Dipper or Ursa Major, also known as the Big Bear, is brighter than Ursa Minor and is often used to locate the North Star. The North Star can be located by tracing a line from Dubhe and Merak, two of the stars that constitute part of the Big Dipper's bowl.

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  • Q:

    How did the constellation Pegasus get its name?

    A:

    The constellation Pegasus was named after the winged horse of Greek mythology. He sprang from the blood of the Gorgon Medusa after she was slain by Perseus. Zeus, the chief god, placed the horse in the night sky among other demigods and heroes.

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  • Q:

    How did the constellation Leo get its name?

    A:

    The word "Leo" means lion in Latin. The constellation originally represented the ferocious Nemean lion that Hercules strangled to death as one of his 12 labors. According to legend, Zeus was impressed enough to make both of them constellations. Leo is not just a constellation, but one of the 12 constellations that make up the Zodiac. Unlike many constellations, Leo does look something like the creature it depicts.

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  • Q:

    Who named the constellation Leo?

    A:

    The zodiac constellation Leo was catalogued along with 47 other constellations in "Almagest" by the famous Greco-Egyptian astronomer Claudius Ptolemy in the second century AD. Many ancient cultures recognized the constellation, referring to it as "the lion" in their languages due to the shape formed when connecting its stars.

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  • Q:

    What type of star is Polaris?

    A:

    Polaris, the North Star, is both a binary star and a Cepheid star. A binary star is a pair of stars that share a gravitational pull. A Cepheid star pulsates, illuminating in varying degrees of brightness.

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