Written by Yelena Shuster
No need to wonder what they are. Learn how to spot the most important constellations, the Big Dipper and Little Dipper, and you’ll always know where you stand in the world.
The Big Dipper is part of the Ursa Major constellation, also known as the Great Bear. In Greek mythology, Zeus’s wife Hera turned his mistress Callisto into a bear. Years later, Arcas, son of Callisto and Zeus, nearly speared the bear, but Zeus intervened and threw mother and son into the heavens, where they became constellations. Callisto became the Great Bear; Arcas, the Little Bear (aka Ursa Minor, which includes the Little Dipper).
How to Spot Them
First, find your true north – the North Star, or Polaris. It’s at the end of the handle of the Little Dipper constellation. An easy way to find Polaris is to locate the Big Dipper. Its eight stars resemble a long-handled ladle (or “dipper”) and appears upside down in sky this time of year. Follow the two stars on the left of the constellation down until you see Polaris, the first star on the handle of the Little Dipper.
Let the Stars Guide You
If you can find Polaris – the brightest star in both constellations – you’ll always know where North is and be able to reorient yourself. In fact, Polaris guided Europeans when they first sailed across the Atlantic to North America more than five centuries ago.
Embrace the Symbolism
When the Big Dipper is upright, the Little Dipper is upside down, because their handles extend in opposite directions. This yin and yang symbolizes the undeniable bond between mother and child – you can’t see one without seeing the other.
Inspire happiness and love in others with our new Big Dipper and Little Dipper Set of Two. These beautiful bangles benefit Big Brothers Big Sisters of America who matches children or “Littles” facing adversity with strong, professionally supported mentors or “Bigs” that change lives for the better, forever.