Ursa Minor

From Ascension Glossary
Ursa Minor

Ursa Minor (Latin: "Smaller She-Bear", contrasting with Ursa Major), also known as the Little Bear, is a constellation in the northern sky. Like the Great Bear, the tail of the Little Bear may also be seen as the handle of a ladle, hence the name Little Dipper. It was one of the 48 constellations listed by the 2nd century astronomer Ptolemy, and remains one of the 88 modern constellations. Ursa Minor is notable as the location of the north celestial pole, although this will change after some centuries due to the precession of the equinoxes. Polaris, the brightest star in the constellation, is a yellow-white supergiant and brightest Cepheid variable star in the night sky, ranging from apparent magnitude 1.97 to 2.00. Beta Ursae Minoris, also known as Kochab, is only slightly fainter, with its apparent magnitude of 2.08. An ageing star that has swollen and cooled to become an orange giant, it has a been found to have a planet orbiting it in 2014. It and magnitude 3 Gamma Ursae Minoris have been called the 'guardians of the pole star'. Three other stellar systems have been discovered to contain planets.

Ursa Minor is notable as the location of the north celestial pole, although this will change after some centuries due to the precession of the equinoxes. It is bordered by Camelopardalis to the west, Draco to the west, and Cepheus to the east. Covering 256 square degrees, it ranks 56th of the 88 constellations in size. Ursa Minor is colloquially known as the Little Dipper because its seven brightest stars seem to form the shape of a dipper (ladle or scoop). The star at the end of the dipper handle is Polaris, the North Star. Polaris can also be found by following a line through the two stars that form the end of the "bowl" of the Big Dipper, a nearby asterism found in the constellation Ursa Major. The four stars constituting the "bowl" of the little dipper are unusual in that they are of second, third, fourth, and fifth magnitudes. Hence, they provide an easy guide to determining what magnitude stars are visible, useful for city dwellers or testing one's eyesight.[1]

Babylonian Astronomy

In the Babylonian star catalogues, Ursa Minor was known as MAR.GID.DA.AN.NA, the Wagon of Heaven, Damkianna. It appeared on a pair of tablets containing canonical star lists that were compiled around 1000 BC, the MUL.APIN, and was one of the "Stars of Enlil"—that is, the northern sky.The possible origin of its name was its appearing to circle around the north celestial pole.The first mention of Ursa Minor in Greek texts was by Thales of Miletus in approximately 600 BCE.Homer had previously only referred to one "bear", leading to speculation over what he saw the stars of Ursa Minor as, or whether they were recognised at all.

Ursa Minor and Ursa Major were related by the Greeks to the myth of Callisto and her son Arcas, both placed in the sky by Zeus. However, in a variant of the story, in which it is Boötes that represents Arcas, Ursa Minor represents a dog. This is the older tradition, which explains both the length of the tail and the obsolete alternate name of Cynosura (the dog's tail) for Polaris, the North Star.

Cynosura is also described as a nurse of Zeus, honoured by the god with a place in the sky. An alternate myth tells of two bears that saved Zeus from his murderous father Cronus by hiding him on Mt Ida. Later Zeus set them in the sky, but their tails grew long from being swung by the god.In Hungarian mythology the constellation is called 'Little Goncol cart' (Göncöl szekér) after a legendary shaman. (Ursa Major is 'Big Goncol cart.') The shaman's knowledge knew no limit. He invented the cart: His nation was wandering, so the cart was the biggest gift of the Gods to the country. Legends claim he knew everything about the world. Nobody saw his death; his body simply disappeared among the stars.In Inuit astronomy, the three brightest stars—Polaris, Kochab and Pherkad—were known as Nuutuittut "never moving", though the term is more frequently used in the singular to refer to Polaris alone. The pole star was too high in the sky at far northern latitudes to be of use in navigation.Because Ursa Minor consists of seven stars, the Latin word for "North" (i.e. where Polaris points) is septentrio, from septem (seven) and triones (oxen), from seven oxen driving a plow, which the seven stars also resemble. This name has also been attached to the main stars of Ursa Major.[2]

File:Sidney Hall - Urania's Mirror - Draco and Ursa Minor.jpg

Wings of Draco

Ursa Minor was once seen as Draco's wings, the wings of the Dragon, Thales around 600 B.C. used them to form this constellation. Ursa Minor, the Little Bear, represents Arcas, the son of the Great Mother Bear who is represented in the adjoining constellation, Ursa Major. Ursa Minor also had the title Cynosura, 'dog's tail', in Greek mythology, Cynosura was a nymph on Mount Ida in Crete, who along with Helice (Ursa Major), nursed Zeus/Jupiter when he was being hidden from his father, Cronus/Saturn. In gratitude, Zeus placed her in the heavens as the constellation Ursa Minor. Cynosura is another name for the constellation Ursa Minor or its brightest star, Polaris. According to Allen (Star Names, under Ursa Major) "Subsequent story changed the nurses into the Cretan nymphs Helice and Melissa", Melissa might represent Ursa Minor."Now the one men call by name Cynosura (Ursa Minor) and the other Helice (Ursa Major). It is by Helice that the Achaeans (Greek sailors) on the sea divine which way to steer their ships, but in the other (Ursa Minor) the Phoenicians put their trust when they cross the sea. But Helice (Ursa Major) appearing large at earliest night, is bright and easy to mark; but the other is small, yet better for sailors: for in a smaller orbit wheel all her stars. By her guidance, then, the men of Sidon (Phoenicians) steer the straightest course…" [Phaenomena, Aratus, p.209]

Ursa Minor contains the guiding star Polaris. Nowadays our word Cynosure, from Latin cynosura, from Greek kunosoura, 'dog's tail', is often used just for the Polestar, Polaris, alpha Ursa Minor. Cynosura was a title for the whole constellation of Ursa Minor in classical times. Cynosure means an object that serves as a focal point of attention, or something that serves to guide.[3]

HGS Session References

HGS Sessions - Clearing Hyperspace Phantom Matrix - 3/12/2015 [4]HGS Sessions - Clearing Tara, Gaia, Cradle of Lyra- 3/12/2015 [5]HGS Sessions - Clearing Germanwings Crash, French Alps - 3/24/2015 [6]HGS Sessions - Clearing El Obour City, Cairo Governorate, Egypt - 4/2/2015 [7]


  1. Ursa Minor
  2. Ursa Minor
  3. Constealltions of Words
  4. HGS Session
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Found in HGS Manual on Page 108

Found in HGS Manual on Page 115