Scattered across the dark sky the stars seem innumerable: the naked eye can see only about 6,000 of distant stars. But they not easy to navigate. Since ancient times, astronomers of different Nations were put up with their constellation, in accordance with their legends, beliefs and ideas about the world. The same asterisms — a bright group of stars could turn into anything. For example, the famous Big Dipper in the constellation URSA major often not had any contact with a ladle or dipper.
The thigh of a bull
The ancient Egyptians were among the first astronomers in history, some of their round stone “observatories” as many as date to the fifth Millennium B. C. E. the Egyptians laid the foundations of the system of constellations that they have borrowed the inhabitants of Mesopotamia, the Greeks, the Arabs, and then of modern science. In the dizzying distant time because of the precession of the earth axis to the North was not pointing North star, and the alpha Dragon (Tuban). Its surroundings, together with close bodies was considered by the Egyptians the “fixed air”, the dwelling place of the gods. Instead of the bucket, the priests could see the leg of Seth, the God of war and death, turned into a bull and killed Osiris with a blow of the hoof. Chocolography Mountains cut off his limb in retaliation for the murder of his father.
The wagon of the Emperor SHANGDI
The Ancient Chinese astronomers divided the sky into 28 vertical sectors, “houses” through which the Moon in its monthly journey, as the Sun in its annual rotation passes through the Zodiac signs in Western astrology that borrowed the 12-sector division of the Egyptians. In the center of heaven, as the Emperor in the capital of the state, the Chinese had the Polar star, already occupied by the time its usual place. The seven brightest stars of URSA major are honorable close to it, within the Purple fence — one of the three Fences surrounding the Palace is a “Royal” stars. They could be described as the Northern Ladle, the orientation of which corresponds to the time of year, or as part of a wagon of the Celestial Emperor SHANGDI.
Observational astronomy in ancient India developed not as brilliant as, say, mathematics. Her presentation had a lot of influence from Greece, and China, for example, 27-28 “sites” (nakshatras) through which the Moon about a month, very similar to the Chinese lunar “houses”. Hindus also attach great importance to the Polar star, which, in the opinion of the knowers of the Vedas, is the abode of Vishnu. Beneath the Dipper asterism was considered saptarishi seven sages born from the mind of Brahma, the patriarchs of the world of our age (Kali-Yuga), and all who live in it.
The big dipper is one of the 48 constellations listed in the star catalog of Ptolemy, around 140 BC, although the first time it is mentioned much earlier, in Homer. Tangled Greek myths offer a different history of its occurrence, although all agree that bear is a beautiful Kallisto, companion of the goddess-huntress Artemis. According to one version, using their usual tricks with reincarnation, amorous Zeus seduced her, prompting the wrath of his wife Hera and Artemis. Rescuing the mistress, the Thunderer turned her into a bear, who wandered in mountain forests until her own son, born of Zeus, met her on the hunt. The Supreme God had to intervene again. Preventing the matricide, he propelled them to the sky.
The Great Bear
It seems that the Indians knew wild animals: the Iroquois legend about the origin of asterism of the “heavenly bear” there is no tail. The three stars forming the handle of the bucket is three hunters chasing the beast: Aliot draws his bow with a nested him with an arrow, Mitsar carries a pot for cooking meat (al), and Benethash — an armful of firewood to Stoke the hearth. In the fall, when the Bucket turns around and dips low to the horizon, the blood from the wounded bear drips down, painting the trees in variegated colors.
The Big Dipper
The big Dipper is an asterism that is part of the third largest of the 88 modern constellations. The big dipper is more than 3% of the total area of the sky, here watching not only star, but also a lot of distant bright galaxies. Among them — the famous Pinwheel galaxy (NGC 5457), located to the Northwest of Benetnash, the most extreme stars in the “handle” of the bucket. Today we know that the five stars of the dipper (Dubhe and less Benetnash) really belong to a single group of stars (Collinder 285) connected by a common origin and motion. The center is 80 light years from the Sun, making Collinder 285 closest to us a cluster of stars, and it continues to approach at speeds near 50 km/s.
historian of astronomy, senior researcher SAI MSU
“In the Chinese Chronicles III century BC describes the systematic observation of stars of the Big Dipper, which noticed the change of the evening at his arm. The pole was then close to the alpha Dragon and the Bucket as to revolve around him, different focusing in different seasons. Looking closely to this rotation, it is easy to see him as a likely source of the swastika, symbol of eternity and forever current time. Indirectly this is evidenced by the traditional form of one of the major Chinese inventions of the compass, which was carried out in the form of a bucket with a handle, pointing to the South. I hope that the understanding of the present content of this ancient symbol will help to clear his reputation, tainted by the connection with fascism”.