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Since the constellation is pretty low in the sky in autumn, the legend says that it is the blood of the wounded bear that causes the leaves to turn red.In more recent American history, the Big Dipper played a role in the Underground Railroad, as its position in the sky helped slaves find their way north.The sages in question are Bhrigu, Atri, Angirasa, Vasishta, Pulastya, Pulalaha and Kratu.In some Native American tales, the bowl of the Big Dipper represents a large bear and the stars that mark the handle are the warriors chasing it.Artemis does this to punish the nymph for breaking her vow of chastity to the goddess.Many years later, both Callisto and Arcas get captured in the forest and taken to King Lycaon as a gift.He sent a whirlwind that carried both Callisto and Arcas into the heavens, where he turned Arcas into the constellation Boötes, the Herdsman, and Callisto into Ursa Major.(In another version, Arcas becomes the constellation Ursa Minor.) This only further infuriated Hera and she persuaded her foster parents Oceanus and Tethys never to let the bear bathe in the northern waters.
Ursa Major is the third largest constellation in the sky, occupying an area of 1280 square degrees.Ursa Major is well-known in most world cultures and associated with a number of myths.It was one of the constellations catalogued by the Greek astronomer Ptolemy in the 2nd century.Rhea, Zeus’ mother, smuggled their youngest child to the island of Crete, where the nymphs Adrasteia and Ida nursed young Zeus for a year.
In this version of the myth, Ida is associated with the constellation Ursa Minor.At the sight of the bear, Arcas quickly drew his spear, scared.