Astronomy Constellation Report

Topics: Ursa Major, Draco, Milky Way Pages: 2 (687 words) Published: December 6, 2012
Draco's stars are not very bright. The head of the dragon consists of four stars; Beta, Gamma, Nu and Xi Draconis. Shooting stars that are known as the Dranconids appear to radiate from Draco's head. The Cat's Eye Nebula CREDIT: NASA the Cat's Eye Nebula is also contained within the constellation. The constellation encompasses several faint galaxies, including the Draco Dwarf Galaxy, one of the least luminous galaxies with a diameter of about 3,500 light years. Draco is a circumpolar constellation visible all night from northern latitudes. The constellation winds around the little dipper. The dragon's body ends between the Big Dipper and the Little Dipper. Draco, the Dragon, used to hold special significance as the location of the pole star, but due to the earth's precession, the pole has shifted to Polaris in Ursa Minor. The Dragon is usually associated with guardian's of the temples and treasures. Draco was important as it was the guardian of the star that never moves, the celestial pole. The celestial pole in ancient times was the doorway between the mortal world and the eternity. The Draco Dwarf Galaxy is a spheroidal galaxy in Draco. It has a visual magnitude of 10.9 and is 260,000 light years distant. It belongs to the Local Group and is a satellite galaxy of the Milky Way, one of the faintest ones. The galaxy was discovered by the American astronomer Albert George Wilson in 1954. It contains five carbon stars, four suspected asymptotic giant branch (AGB) stars, a number of red giant branch (RGB) stars, and more than 260 variables, all but five of which are of the RR Lyrae type. The galaxy is believed to contain large amounts of dark matter.

At one time Draco was quite a bit larger when the ancient Mesopotamians gave the dragon large wings which wound around Ursa Major. Dragons and other similar creatures often played a role in creation myths. In these stories the gods would often battle such creatures for control of the Earth. When defeated, the dragons...
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