The Big Dipper forms from seven stars: Alkaid, Mizar, Alioth, Megrez, Phad, Merak and Dubhe. The stars in the Big Dipper appear in skies over the Northern Hemisphere, arranging in a distinct pattern that forms the handle and bowl of the Dipper. In addition to forming the Big Dipper, these stars point toward Polaris, the North Star, providing a sense of direction and orientation.Know More
As with constellations and stars in the sky, the position of the Big Dipper in the sky changes throughout the year. In the warmer months of spring and summer, the Big Dipper appears high in the sky and shines brightest. During the colder months of fall and winter, it shines less brightly and hovers just above the horizon line. Even at its lowest point in the winter sky, the Big Dipper remains circumpolar, meaning none of its points dip below the horizon line.
This unique arrangement of stars contains seven major stars, which derive their names from different origins, including Arabic and Latin. Its two most prominent stars include Alkaid, which forms the tip of its handle and Dubhe, which extends farthest from Alkaid. Dubhe, in Arabic, translates to "Great Bear." Dubhe classifies as a pointer star, along with nearby Merzak. These two stars lead to Polaris, the North Star, and to Regulus, a star in the constellation Leo.Learn more about Astronomy
Stars on the main sequence that are the same size as the Sun begin as yellow stars and turn into red giants as their hydrogen fuel runs out. Other stars shrink or explode, depending on their size.Full Answer >
No one knows who discovered stars. They have been known and observed since prehistory; however, civilizations began to chart and study them from as early as 1534 B.C. According to historians, this is the date of the earliest star chart, which was created in ancient Egypt.Full Answer >
Stars begin as particles in a cold cloud of dust. According to How It Works, these particles only develop into a star if a force causes the particles to collide with each other. Otherwise, the particles remain cold and lifeless for ages.Full Answer >
Scientists use a star's temperature to classify it into one of seven main groups referred to by the letters O, B, A, F, G, K and M, in descending order. Within those groups, stars receive a number classification based upon their temperature as compared to other stars within the same group. An additional classification denotes the luminosity of the star through a Roman numeral between I and VIII.Full Answer >