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Ursa Major (abbr. UMa, gen. Ursae Majoris)





Ursa Major, with the stars of the Big Dipper (Plough) labeled. Photo by David Cleave

The Great Bear; a very large and prominent northern constellation, located west of Lyra and north of Leo and Leo Minor. Ursa Major is a good starting point to find other stars and constellation in the sky. A line through the Pointers, Alpha UMa (Dubhe) and Beta UMa (Merak), leads to north to the pole star, Polaris, and south toward Regulus. Capella in Auriga can be found by following a line from Delta UMa to Alpha UMa. Likewise, a line from Delta UMa to Beta UMa and beyond, leads to Alpha Gem. Ursa Major is most famous for the Big Dipper (or Plough) asterism, made from the stars Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta, Epsilon, Zeta and Eta UMa. See below for details of the constellation's brightest stars and interesting deep sky objects.


Ursa Major constellation
Ursa Major. © 2003 Torsten Bronger.
Copied here under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License



Stars brighter than magnitude 4.0
Star Visual
mag.
Abs.
mag.
Spectral
type
Distance
(lt-yr)
R.A. (h m s) Dec. ( ° ' '' )
Epsilon (Alioth) 1.76 -0.22 A0VpCr 81 12 54 02 +55 57 35
Alpha (Dubhe) 1.81 -1.09 F7Va 124 11 03 44 +61 45 03
Eta (Alkaid) 1.85 -0.60 B3V 101 13 47 32 +49 18 48
Zeta (Mizar) 2.23 0.33 A1VpSrSi+A1m 78 13 23 06 +54 55 31
Beta (Merak) 2.34 0.41 A1V 79 11 01 50 +56 22 56
Gamma (Phekda) 2.41 0.36 A0Ve 84 11 53 50 +53 41 41
Psi 3.01 -0.27 K1III 147 11 09 40 +44 29 54
Mu (Tania Australis) 3.06 -1.35 M0III 249 10 22 20 +41 29 58
Iota (Talita) 3.12 2.29 A7IV 48 08 59 12 +48 02 29
Theta 3.17 2.52 F6IV 44 09 32 51 +51 40 38
Delta (Megrez) 3.32 1.33 A3V 81 12 15 26 +57 01 57
Omicron (Muscida) 3.35 -0.41 G4II 184 08 30 16 +60 43 05
Lambda (Tania Borealis) 3.45 0.37 A2IV 134 10 17 06 +42 54 52
Nu (Alula Borealis) 3.49 -2.07 K3IIIBa0.3 421 11 18 29 +33 05 39
Kappa (Al Kaprah) 3.57 -2.00 A1Vn 423 09 03 38 +47 09 23
h 3.65 1.82 F0IV 76 09 31 32 +63 03 42
Chi (Alkafzah) 3.69 -0.21 K0III 196 11 46 03 +47 46 45
Upsilon 3.78v 1.04 F0IV 115 09 50 59 +59 02 19
10 3.96 2.88 F5V 54 09 00 38 +41 46 57


Other objects of interest
Name Type of Object Notes
Owl Nebula planetary nebula See separate entry
M81 (NGC 3031) galaxy See separate entry
M82 (NGC 3034) galaxy See separate entry
M101 (NGC 5457) galaxy See separate entry
M108 (NGC 3556) galaxy Nearly edge-on type Sc spiral. Distance 45 million light-years;
magnitude 10.0; diameter 8' × 1'; R.A. 11h 11.5m, Dec. +55° 40'
M109 (NGC 3992) galaxy A type SBc barred spiral that looks like a "theta" in the sky. Distance
55 million light-years; magnitude 9.8; diameter 7' × 4'; R.A. 11h 57.6m,
Dec. +53° 23'
Ambartsumian's Knot galaxy See separate entry


Constellations
Andromeda | Antlia | Apus | Aquarius | Aquila | Ara | Aries | Auriga | Bootes | Caelum | Camelopardalis | Cancer | Canes Venatici | Canis Major | Canis Minor | Capricornus | Carina | Cassiopeia | Centaurus | Cepheus | Cetus | Chamaeleon | Circinus | Columba | Coma Berenices | Corona Austrina | Corona Borealis | Corvus | Crater | Crux | Cygnus | Delphinus | Dorado | Draco | Equuleus | Eridanus | Fornax | Gemini | Grus | Hercules | Horologium | Hydra | Hydrus | Indus | Lacerta | Leo | Leo Minor | Lepus | Libra | Lupus | Lynx | Lyra | Mensa | Microscopium | Monoceros | Musca | Norma | Octans | Ophiuchus | Orion | Pavo | Pegasus | Perseus | Phoenix | Pictor | Pisces | Piscis Austrinus | Puppis | Pyxis | Reticulum | Sagitta | Sagittarius | Scorpius | Sculptor | Scutum | Serpens | Sextans | Taurus | Telescopium | Triangulum | Triangulum Australe | Tucana | Ursa Major | Ursa Minor | Vela | Virgo | Volans | Vulpecula


Related categories

   • NOTABLE STARS
   • NEBULAE AND STAR CLUSTERS
   • GALAXIES