Allerlei - Ursa Major

ursa major stars

People frequently ask me where the bear is in the Big Dipper.

ursa major stars

Well, it turns out that the Big Dipper is only a small part of the constellation Ursa Major (the Big Bear).

ursa major stars

To find the bear you have to use some of the fainter stars in the figure.

rabbit net

There are hundreds of different myths concerning the Big Dipper. One that I particularly like is from the starlore of the Shoshone and Paiute Indian tribes in North America. In order to catch rabbits the Indians made long nets and drove the rabbits into them. Some of the nets were 100 meters long. The nets had to be in the proper place or the rabbits would escape. The Big Dipper imparts a lesson of two men who did not place their end of the rabbit net correctly.

rabbit net

This is a photograph of a portion of a real rabbit net made of yucca fibers. It is from 800 to 1000 years old and was used by the Anasazi people in southeast Utah (a state in southwestern USA). The rabbit net is on display at the Edge of the Cedars Museum in Blanding, Utah.