Ursa Major constellation, 1603

Ursa Major constellation, 1603

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Credit: ROYAL ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Ursa Major constellation. 17th century engraving of Ursa Major (the Great Bear), overlaid with the positions of the stars that make up this constellation. This constellation is near the North Celestial Pole (towards upper right). This star map is from Uranometria, a star atlas published in 1603 by the German astronomer Johann Bayer. It contained a total of 51 star maps, plotted using the most accurate observations of the time. It was the first star atlas to use reference grids on its maps, and the first to use Greek letters to identify individual stars, though it retained the traditional mythological depictions of the constellations.

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