The constellation, Draco the Dragon, plotted over a dragon.
Click on image for full size
Chris Gleason, Windows to the Universe original
Draco the Dragon
Draco the dragon is famous throughout mythology. This great beast was especially present in greek myth. One of the more popular stories involves Heracles and the twelve labors. Gaia gave Hera a golden apple tree when she married Zeus. Hera put the tree in the garden to be guarded by the Hesperides and a dragon called Ladon. At this point, the story has different versions.
In one, Heracles slays the dragon with poison arrows and gathers the fruit. In another, Heracles asks Atlas to gather the apples while he and Athena held up the sky. Atlas, thinking he could trick Heracles into holding the sky forever, gladly accepted the mission. When he returned with the apples, Heracles slipped the sky back on Atlas' shoulders again. Atlas was not only stuck with the sky, but he also lost his apples.
Yet another story is set during the Titan war with Zeus. Athena was attacked by a dragon. She flung it into the air, wrapping it around the pole. To this day, the dragon remains in the night sky.
The constellation, Draco, can be found revolving around the celestial North Pole. This type of constellation is said to be circumpolar. The head is slightly north of Hercules, while the tail ends between the Big and Little Dippers.
Shop Windows to the Universe Science Store!
Our online store
includes fun classroom activities
for you and your students. Issues of NESTA's quarterly journal, The Earth Scientist
are also full of classroom activities on different topics in Earth and space science!
You might also be interested in:
Ahsonnutli was the sky father and chief deity of the Navajo Indians. He created heaven, Earth, and the sky. Each of the four cardinal directions was supported by a giant. Each direction was also associated...more
Amphitrite was one of the fifty Nereids, the attendants of the sea-god Poseidon. Poseidon (Neptune) had fallen in love with Amphitrite after seeing her dancing on the island of Naxos. Amphitrite rejected...more
Aphrodite was the Greek goddess of love and beauty. She was known to the Romans as Venus. There were actually two different Aphrodites, one was the daughter of Uranus, the other the daughter of Zeus and...more
In Greek mythology, Apollo was the son of Jupiter(in Greek Zeus) and Leto (Letona). He was the god of the Sun, logic, and reason, and was also a fine musician and healer. Leto travelled all over Greece...more
According to an ancient Greek legend, the figure of a gigantic crab was placed in the nighttime sky by the goddess Hera to form the constellation Cancer. Hera was the jealous wife of the sky god, Zeus....more
In the Northern Hemisphere sky is the constellation Cepheus, king of Ethiopia, and that of his wife Cassiopeia. Cassiopeia claimed that she and her daughter Andromeda were more beautiful than the sea nymphs,...more
According tho the Navajo mythology, the Milky Way was created by the misbehavior of the mischievous deity, Coyote. When the world was created, the Holy People gathered around Black God to place the stars...more