The constellation, Draco the dragon.
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Chris Gleason, Windows to the Universe
Draco the Dragon
Draco the dragon is a circumpolar constellation, which means it revolves around the celestial North Pole. It can be seen all year round. Draco can is only present in the Northern Hemisphere, so those living in the Southern Hemisphere will never see this long constellation.
The easiest way to spot Draco is by finding his head. It consists of four stars in a trapezoid, burning brightly just north of Hercules. From there, the tail slithers through the sky, eventually ending between the Big and Little Dippers. It can be difficult to trace Draco in the night sky. From the head, follow the body north towards Cepheus. It suddenly shifts south and west, ending up between the two dippers. The end of the constellation is held by Thuban, which was the pole star over 4,000 years ago.
Several galaxies and even one nebula is found within the constellation. Unfortunately, very few can be viewed without a telescope. The Cat's Eye Nebula is a favorite among astronomers. Although not very bright, this planetary nebula is one of the best in its class.
Many myths revolve around this chaotic dragon. It is said in Greek myth that a serpent named Ladon guarded the golden apple tree. One of the twelve labors of Hercules was to steal apples from this well-guarded tree. In one version of the story, Hercules slayed the dragon with poison arrows and gathered the fruit. Other victims of Hercules were Leo the lion, and Hydra the serpent.
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