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Draco the Dragon in Greek Mythology - Windows to the Universe

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The constellation, Draco the Dragon, plotted over a dragon.
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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.

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.

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.

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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