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The Great Bear

A groups of stars in a particular region of the night sky are called constellations. Astronomers have divided the sky into 88 constellations half of which were named in ancient times.

The Greeks and the Romans had fanciful stories to explain the origins of some of the star groups.

To them, the constellation of the Great Bear for example was actually a beautiful woman named Callisto . Callisto, goes the tale, was the splendid Princess of Arcadia. Hera, wife of the chief of the gods, Zeus, was jealous of Callisto's beauty and made up her mind to destroy her.

One day she appeared before Callisto. The woman realised that something unpleasant was in store for her and begged for mercy. But Hera was unmoved. She turned her into a bear.

The great shaggy creature wandered through the forest confused and frightened. One day she came across her son, Arcas. Overjoyed, she sprang forward to embrace him. The boy of course did not know she was his mother and he raised his hunting spear to strike. Zeus looking down from the heavens was moved by pity and before the youth could do any harm snatched them both into the sky. There they turned into stars. Callisto became known as the Great Bear, or Ursa major and her son as Little Bear or Ursa minor.
Ursa Major, also called the Big Dipper, is the best known constellation in the northern sky.
Indian astronomers had named this constellation as the Saptarshi. With some help you can easily locate and identify this constellation.


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Dimdima is the Sanskrit word for ‘drumbeat’. In olden days, victory in battle was heralded by the beat of drums or any important news to be conveyed to the people used to be accompanied with drumbeats.

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Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan
K. M Munshi Marg,
Chowpatty, Mumbai - 400 007
email : editor@dimdima.com

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Dimdima.com, the Children's Website of Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan launched in 2000 and came out with a Printed version of Dimdima Magazine in 2004. At present the Printed Version have more than 35,000 subscribers from India and Abroad.

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