Tuesday 19 September 2017 - 08:43:12 Posted by  Bobby

 Mythology of Draco

Draco is an extensive constellation of the far-northern sky that winds around Ursa Minor. It represents the dragon that in Greek mythology guarded the golden apples of the Hesperides, the daughters of Atlas, and which was slain by Hercules as one of his labors. In the sky Hercules is represented with one foot on the dragon's head. Despite its considerable size, Draco contains no really prominent stars, the brightest being Gamma Draconis, magnitude 2.2, a red giant about 150 light-years away. With the stars Beta, Nu and Xi Draconis, it forms a lozenge shape that marks the head of the dragon. The constellation is noted chiefly for its double stars.

 The Facts

  • Depiction: The Dragon
  • Pronounced: DRAY-ko
  • Genitive: Draconis
  • Abbreviation: Dra
  • Highest in the Sky: March to September
  • Size Ranking: 8th
  • Coverage Area: 1,083 Sq. Degrees
  • Right Acension: 17 hours
  • Declination: 65°
  • Visibility: 90°N to 4°S

 Notable Objects

  • Alpha Draconis: Star system
  • Nu Draconis: Double star
  • Psi Draconis: Double star systems
  • NGC 5866: Lenticular galaxy
  • NGC 5907: Spiral galaxy
  • The Sampler (NGC 5981, 5982, 5985): Spiral/Eliptical galaxies
  • NGC 6543: Cat's Eye Nebula

 Named Stars

  • Thuban, Alpha Draconis
  • Rastaban, Beta Draconis
  • Etamin, Gamma Draconis
  • Altais, Delta Draconis
  • Nodus, Epsilon Draconis
  • Aldhibah, Zeta Draconis
  • Eldsich, Iota Draconis
  • Kuma, Nu Draconis
  • Grumium, Xi Draconis
  • Alsafi, Sigma Draconis
  • Dsiban, Psi Draconis

 Best Viewed Objects/Stars

Mu Draconis

 A double star with components that are too close to be separated with a small telescope. An aperture of at least 3 in (75 mm), with high magnification, will usually be needed to see the two 6th-magnitude stars. They are 88 light-years away and orbit each other every 670 years.

Nu Draconis

 A wide double star with twin white 5th-magnitude components that are virtually identical in color and brightness. The pair form an excellent sight through binoculars and are easy to see with the smallest telescopes. Both stars lie 100 light-years away.

Ps1 Draconis

 A double star, easy to divide through a small telescope. The two components of magnitudes 4.6 and 5.8 may even be divided with high powered binoculars.

16 and 17 Draconis

 A multiple star. Binoculars show a wide double with 5th- and 6th-magnitude components. A telescope with high magnification reveals that the brighter star, 17 Draconis, is itself a close double.

39 Draconis

 A multiple star. Through a small telescope, or even binoculars. it appears as a wide pair of 5th- and 8th magnitude stars. Examination of the brighter star under high magnification will show a much closer star, also of 8th magnitude.

NGC 6543

 A planetary nebula visible with a small telescope. It appears as a bluish disk of similar size to the globe of Saturn.


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