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We see thousands of stars on a clear moonless night and some of these stars are arranged in groups or patterns. From the ancient times, men have looked at the stars and picked up recognizable shapes and patterns. One group of stars suggested the outline of a bear: another group of stars reminded them of a hunter, and so on. The stars which appear in the form of a closed group and form recognizable shapes and patterns are known as constellations.

Ursa Major Constellation (or Great Bear Constellation)   
The Indian name of Ursa Major constellation or Great Bear constellation is ‘Saptarishi’. The great bear constellation reminds us of large ladle or a question mark studded in the sky. The Ursa major constellation or great bear constellation consists of 7 bright stars arranged in a pattern resembling somewhat a big bear. The stars marked 1, 2, 3 and 4 are supposed to form the body of the bear whereas the stars marked 5, 6 and 7 form the tail of the big bear. The head and paws of this bear are formed from some other faint stars not shown. It is required to make some recognizable shape or pattern from a group of stars. Please note that the Ursa-major constellation or great bear constellation also resembles a big kite with a tail.


Big Dipper


The constellation Ursa Minor or Small Dipper also has seven stars in it. The Pole Star forms the handle tip of the Ursa Minor(1).



Orion Constellation

The Indian name of Orion constellation is ‘Mriga’. Orion constellation also consists of seven prominent stars. The arrangement of stars in the Orion constellation is shown in the figure. Orion means hunter. So the arrangement of stars in Orion constellation is supposed to resemble a hunting man. The stars marked 1 and 2 in the Figure are supposed to form the shoulders of the hunter whereas the stars marked 6 and 7 are imagined to form the feet of the hunter. The three stars in the middle (marked 3,4 and 5) represent the belt of the hunter. The head, arms and weapons of the hunter are formed from some other faint stars



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