Shop Windows to the Universe

We now offer the Cool It! card game in our Science Store. Cool It! is the new card game from UCS that teaches kids about the choices we have when it comes to climate change.
This picture shows two different views of the constellation, The Big Dipper. The upper image is what we see from Earth and the lower from a different location in space.

The seven Rishis

According to the epic Mahabharata, composed after the Rig Veda in about 500 B.C., the stars of the Big Dipper were the seven sages called Rishis. These seven sages are said to be those who made the Sun rise and shine. They were happily married to seven sisters named Krttika. They originally all lived together in the northern sky.

But one day, the god of fire, Agni, emerged from the flames of a sacrificial offering performed by the seven Rishis and immediately fell in love with the seven Krttika. Trying to forget his hopeless love for the Krttika, Agni wandered in the forest where he met Svaha, the star Zeta Tauri. Svaha was at once infatuated with Agni.

To conquer Agni's love, Svaha disguised herself as six of the seven Krttika. For six times, Svaha made love to Agni who believed that he had conquered the attractive wives of the seven Rishis. Svaha could mimic only six of the Krttika because the seventh sister, Arundhati, was too devoted to her husband to be imitated. After a while, Svaha gave birth to a child that she named Skanda. With his birth, rumors began to spread that six of the Rishis' wives were his mother.

Six of the Rishis divorced their wives. Arundhati was the only one that remained with her husband as the star Alcor. The other six Krttika went away to become the Pleiades.

Shop Windows to the Universe Science Store!

Our online store includes books on science education, ranging from evolution, classroom research, and the need for science and math literacy!

Windows to the Universe Community

News

Opportunities

You might also be interested in:

Traveling Nitrogen Classroom Activity Kit

Check out our online store - minerals, fossils, books, activities, jewelry, and household items!...more

The Pleiades

In Greek mythology, the Pleiades were seven sisters. Their names were Maia, Electra, Alcyone, Taygete, Asterope, Celaeno, and Merope. Their parents were the Titan Atlas and the Oceanid, Pleione. One day...more

Ahsonnutli

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

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

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

Apollo

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

Cancer

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

Cepheus

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

Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part by the National Science Foundation and NASA, our Founding Partners (the American Geophysical Union and American Geosciences Institute) as well as through Institutional, Contributing, and Affiliate Partners, individual memberships and generous donors. Thank you for your support! NASA AGU AGI NSF