Ursa Minor

The Lesser Bear

Abbreviation: UMi
Genitive: Ursae Minoris

The constellation of Ursa Minor

Greek mythology suggests that this constellation is associated with the figure of Arcas, the son of Callisto. Callisto was turned into a bear by Hera, the queen of the gods, because Hera's husband, Zeus, had been paying a bit too much attention to the nymph. In order to keep Arcas from accidentally shooting his mother, Zeus turned Arcas into a bear too and placed them both in the sky.

Notable Features

Designation Name Description
Ursids This late December meteor shower is faint and the meteors travel at a moderate speed. The radiant is near the 'bowl' of the 'Little Dipper', a popular name for the constellation. Thus, the radiant is circumpolar for virtually all northern hemisphere viewers. The parent comet of this shower may be 8P/Tuttle.
α UMi Polaris Polaris is approximately 1° away from the north celestial pole, hence its common name. However, it won't always occupy this honoured position as precession causes the north celestial pole to move in a large circle through the sky in a cycle of approximately 26000 years.
β UMi Kochab Kochab is one of the 'Guardians of the Pole'.
γ UMi Pherkad Pherkad is the other 'Guardian of the Pole'.
δ UMi Yildun