The Big Dipper, the famous and prominent part of Ursa Major, the Greater Bear, is seen through the open shutter of the 90-inch telescope of the University of Arizona atop Kitt Peak, the silhouette of the telescope's framework seen against the sky. Beginning with the front bowl star of the Dipper, which is toward the lower left hand corner of the picture, and proceeding up and to the right toward the handle, the stars are Dubhe, Merak (the two pointing down and to the right toward Polaris in Ursa Minor), Phecda, Megrez, Alioth, Mizar, and Alkaid. Just down and to the right of Mizar is its companion Alcor, the two easily separable with the naked eye, while 78 UMa is just a bit down and to the right of Alioth. The central five stars of the Dipper, plus Alcor and several other stars, constitute a physical group, the Ursa Major Cluster.

To see a labelled image, push the star:

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See the two Dippers together with Draco.

By Jim Kaler. Return to STARS.