THE Plough, also known as “The Big Dipper”, is one of the most recognizable monuments in the night sky.
It owes its name to its shape: four bright stars form a bowl and three bright stars form a handle.
What are the stars in the plow?
The Plow consists of seven stars: Dubhe, Merak, Phecda, Alioth, Megrez, Mizar and Alkaid.
Is Orion’s girdle part of the plow?
Orion’s belt or the constellation “The Hunter” is not part of the plow – nor is the plow part of Orion.
The Plow is actually part of a larger constellation called Ursa Major, also known as the Great Bear.
Part of Ursa Major, the plow forms the bear’s hindquarters and tail high up in the northeast sky.
Ursa Major is one of the most famous constellations with the exception of Orion – so it’s understandable how the two can be confused.
However, they differ in shape.
What is the bright star to the left of the plow?
The bright star to the left of the Plow is Arcturus, a red dwarf visible to the unaided eye just before sunset.
Arcturus, part of the constellation Boats, is the fourth brightest star in the sky and the brightest in the northern hemisphere.
Then to the right is Polaris, also known as the North Star.
If you draw an imaginary line straight from the bottom right corner of the dish to the top right corner and beyond, the next brightest star you reach is Polaris.
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