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The Big Dipper

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One of the most recognized asterisms in the sky is the Big Dipper. The Big dipper is part of the Constellation named Ursa Major which represents a great bear. The Big Dipper is easy to find and this month it can be seen rising in the northeastern sky. The handle is pointing downward. If the cup portion was able to hold a liquid then it would all spill out this month due to the vertical position of its cup.

It is fun to watch the dipper at each season of the year. During the summer early

evening it can be seen high overhead in the northern sky. In the fall it is in the northwestern part of the sky, and in the winter skies it lies low near the northern horizon. 

The dipper is known as part of a circumpolar constellation that never fully sets due to our latitude of 41 degrees north. This means that you will be able to see it every day of the year somewhere in the northern sky. The two stars on the end of the cup point towards the North Star which is helpful in finding directions at night.

The constellation Ursa Major contains many more stars than the Big Dipper. One can observe the tail, body, legs, and head of the great bear outlined by the stars that make up Ursa Major.

Our website is http://CVAS-utahskies.org