Draco

The Draco Constellation

The name Draco has been connected to a few mythical serpents in Greek folklore. One variant of the story is that Cadmus killed the mythical beast Draco in his journey to discover his sister, Europa, who had been taken to Crete by Zeus. In another record, the Athenian goddess Minerva took Draco by the tail and placed it into the sky amid the fight for Mount Olympus. Draco has additionally been recognized in early Christianity as the serpent that enticed Eve in the Garden of Eden.

The above is the mythological part of the story of the Draco. Read below to learn facts.

Draco, like its contrasting friend Dorado, is situated in the north most of the northern hemisphere. It is one of the largest constellations there is, out of the 88 known constellations to the humans. There are 88 constellations registered by the International Astronomical Union (IAU). In the 2nd Century BCE, there were only 42 knowns, until some Dutch navigators went out to explore the southern hemisphere.

Draco, however, was discovered by the Greeks, as one might already have guessed by the mythological association of the constellation. Draco was first discovered by a Greek astronomer and was noticed that it is circumpolar.

What is meant by circumpolar constellation?

Due to earth’s slight tilt, there are some constellations that never rise or set, thereby visible at all times. These categories of constellations are said to be circumpolar constellations.

Draco: Facts, Location

Draco stands at the 8th position in the list of the largest constellation. It occupies 1083 square degrees of space in the sky. It can be seen between the latitudes +90 and -15 degrees. Draco is a part of Ursa Major Family of Constellations. The constellation is composed of a large number of stars and deep space bodies. Which brings us to the next topic. Read below to learn more.

Stars composition

Draco is a constellation of dim stars, not very bright, but many, many of them.

There are four stars on the head of the dragon, in a trapezoid. It always appears to be meteor showering from the end of the windy body of the dragon to the tail, between early to mid-October every year. These little things that appear to fall off, are called Draconoids. The Thuban Draconoids form the tail of the dragon. Around 2600 BCE, this Draconoid was the pole star, but due to earth’s tilt changing, the pole star now is different.

Most stars in Draco are binary stars. There are several faint galaxies within the Draco. The Draco constellation also consists of a nebula called the Cat Eye Nebula, which is approximately 3000 light years away from the plane Earth. The brightest star in the constellation is Gamma Draconis.

Draco is a home to many galaxy clusters and interacting galaxies. Abell 2218, a small galaxy cluster that acts as the gravitational lens is a huge boon to the researchers to be able to see the other galaxies around it.

 

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