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Ursa Minor


English name:
Little Bear
see Stellar data



The constellation which contains the celestial north pole. Ursa Minor is also called Little Dipper because though the stars a fainter the figure formed by the leading stars resembles the famous Big Dipper in Ursa Major.
This constellation is nearly completely surrounded by the constellation Draco. Only in the central region of the celestial north pole Ursa Minor is neighboured to Cepheus and Camelopardalis.
The stars beta UMi, Kochab (arab. "pole star"), and gamma UMi, Pherkad, are often called The Guardians of the Pole or simply "The Guards".

Stars and other objects:

The Pole Star alpha UMi, commonly called Polaris, is a Cepheid variable star. Within a period of 4 days the brightness varies between 2.1 mag and 2.2 mag. Additionally alpha UMi is a double star; the companion, a star of 9th mag, can be separated with small telescopes (the separation is 18"). The F7 supergiant Polaris is famous because is lies just one degree away from the true pole.
Close to the 3rd mag A3 giant gamma UMi, also known as Pherkad, lies the 5 mag star 11 UMi. These two stars appear double although they are unrelated. 11 UMi can be seen with the naked eye under good conditions (otherwise binoculars are sufficient to show the star).

Mythological background:

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C. Kronberg --- 96/08/06 --- smil at clell.de