Astronomy Picture of the Day
    


APOD: 2023 December 10 Big Dipper over Pyramid Mountain
<< Yesterday 10.12.2023 Tomorrow >>
APOD: 2023 December 10  Big Dipper over Pyramid Mountain
Credit & Copyright: Steve Cullen
Explanation: When did you first learn to identify this group of stars? Although they are familiar to many people around the world, different cultures have associated this asterism with different icons and folklore. Known in the USA as the Big Dipper, the stars are part of a constellation designated by the International Astronomical Union in 1922 as the Great Bear (Ursa Major). The recognized star names of these stars are (left to right) Alkaid, Mizar/Alcor, Alioth, Megrez, Phecda, Merak, and Dubhe. Of course, stars in any given constellation are unlikely to be physically related. But surprisingly, most of the Big Dipper stars do seem to be headed in the same direction as they plough through space, a property they share with other stars spread out over an even larger area across the sky. Their measured common motion suggests that they all belong to a loose, nearby star cluster, thought to be on average only about 75 light-years away and up to 30 light-years across. The cluster is more properly known as the Ursa Major Moving Group. The featured image captured the iconic stars recently above Pyramid Mountain in Alberta, Canada.

Night Sky Network webinar: APOD editor to review coolest space images of 2023

January
February
March
April
May
June
July
August
September
October
November
December
 < December 2023  >
Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa Su




123
45678910
11121314151617
18192021222324
25262728293031
Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff (MTU) & Jerry Bonnell (USRA)
NASA Web Site Statements, Warnings, and Disclaimers
NASA Official: Jay Norris. Specific rights apply.
A service of: LHEA at NASA / GSFC
& Michigan Tech. U.

Based on Astronomy Picture Of the Day

Publications with keywords: Ursa Major - star cluster
Publications with words: Ursa Major - star cluster
See also:
All publications on this topic >>