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Brandi Gilbert

Physics 1040 Section 2


April 18, 2016
Constellation Paper
Topic: Draco

Mythology on Draco:
Draco has a star by the name of Thubun, that during the ancient times it would have
appeared to anyone viewing the constellation that it was revolving around the earth. Since the
star of Draco was the pole star, which was how people were under the strange impression that
earth was somehow revolving around it. Since most of the creations of myths often take place
with dragons as the main character, it as easy for people to think that, that was why the earth was
revolving around Dracos star. In many stories, the gods would often fight creatures much bigger
in size them then, and more often than not the massive creature is a dragon. The winner of the
battles would win reign and control over the earth, and when the dragons were defeated they
were flung u into the sky, to stay there for the rest of existence. (Miles, Kathy. "Draco the
Dragon." Draco the Dragon. Chuck Peters. Web. Feb.-Mar. 2016.)
There is Greek legend that explains the story of Draco, and how it came to be. It is said
that Draco was a very horrible dragon that would guard a sacred spring and group of soldiers of
Cadmus, who was the first king of Thebes. At the time Thebes was sent off to go and collect
water for the day. When he returned from collecting water, he ended up fighting the dragon and
won the fight. Once the dragon had died, Athena then appeared and told Cadmus to plant the
ground with the teeth of the dragon. Once the teeth were planted into the ground, they began to
spring up as large group of soldiers who helped Cadmus find Thebes. In addition to the Greek
story there is also 2 other origin stories about Draco as well. The second story is from the
Babylonians, who believed that Tiamat turned herself into a dragon, but was then split into two
different parts, one representing the sky and the other the earth. The third story comes from the
Chinese, and they say that see all of the stars in the sky as the dragon who eats up the sun or the

moon in an eclipse. (Miles, Kathy. "Draco the Dragon." Draco the Dragon. Chuck Peters. Web.
Feb.-Mar. 2016.)
Another well-known story about Draco is also from the Greeks and it says that there was
once a multiple headed dragon named ladon and his duty was to guard the Gardens of the
Hesperides. This garden was a very pretty orchard which was formed and under the name of
Hera, who was the wife of Zeus. In the garden there were many apple trees, but these apples
were known as the golden apples because they were able to offer immortality to whomever
decided to eat one. The nymphs who were supposed to be looking after the garden would often
steal and eat apples the apples they were able to. When this was discovered, ladon was then out
into the garden to keep watch and make sure that the stealing would not go on any longer. And it
was said that later on Hercules was able to get into the garden and defeat the multiple headed
dragon once and for all. ("Draco Constellation - Facts About Draco | Solarsystemquick.com."
Draco Constellation - Facts About Draco | Solarsystemquick.com. Solar Systems Quick, 2012.
Web. Feb.-Mar. 2016.) There is also said to be a story from the Greco-Roman legend that depicts
how Draco came to be in the sky. It is said that he was killed by the goddess Minerva, and after
she killed him she threw him into the sky. Draco was considered to be one of the Gigantes who
battled the Olympic gods for over ten years. After Minerva threw the dragon into the sky, he
became twisted up in himself, and froze at the cold north celestial pole before he could untwist
himself and get away again. ("Draco (constellation)." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation. Web.
Apr. 2016.)
With Thuban being the pole star nearly five thousand years ago, it able to be greatly
observed by the Egyptians at the time. In addition to the stars that Draco already had, it was also
observed that some of the stars were part of the constellation of Hippopotamus, and some of the

other stars were from Crocodile. Dracos stars were


also said to be a representation of the god Horus,
who had a falcon head. (Miles, Kathy. "Draco the
Dragon." Draco the Dragon. Chuck Peters. Web.
Feb.-Mar. 2016.)

Constellation of Draco
The constellation of Draco is said to be circumpolar, and so because of this it revolves
around the North Pole. Although Draco can be seen all year round, it is only visible to those in
the Northern hemisphere. (Windows to the Universe. "Draco the Dragon." Constellations:
2010.Web. Mar.-Apr. 2016.) From January to March, Draco can be seen in the lower part of the
horizon at a northerly direction at night, and will slowly start to disappear as the day breaks the
following morning. From April to June it will appear in more of a north-easterly position in the
night sky around nine in the evening, and will continue on into the north-west section of the sky.
In the months of July through September, it will appear to be directly overhead, and then will
slowly start to move into the lower part of the horizon once again in the north-westerly direction.
Finally in the months of October through December, the constellation will appear very high up in
the north-western region of the sky, and will continue this until it moves its way downward,
directly north on the horizon. ("Draco Constellation - Facts About Draco |
Solarsystemquick.com. Solar Systems Quick, 2012. Web. Feb.-Mar. 2016.)
There are several different stars that boarder the constellation of Draco. These stars
include: Bootes, Hercules, Lyra, Cygnus, Cepheus, Ursa Minor, Camelopardalis, and Ursa Major.

There are also several constellations that are within Draco itself, and these would include:
Thuban, Edasich, Aldhibah, Nodus Secundus, Grumium, Eltanin, and Rastaban. All if not most
of the stars that appear to be in the constellation with Draco, are fairly luminous, and are able to
be seen along with Draco in the night sky. But one or two of them, are not very bright, so they
are a little bit harder to try and spot out when looking at the constellation itself.
20 Brightest Stars:
Shown below is a table that lists the first 20 brightest stars in the constellation Draco.
(Table #1, Wikipedia, Stars of the constellation draco)

Objects of Interest:
To start off I am going to be sharing some random facts about the constellation Draco.
Even though Draco is fairly big in size, it can often times be very difficult to see in the night sky
because of the dimness of most of the stars within the constellation. The well-known Cats Eye
Nebula can be found inside the boarder of Draco. ("Draco Constellation - Facts about Draco |
Solarsystemquick.com. Solar Systems Quick, 2012. Web. Feb.-Mar. 2016.) With its size being
roughly 1,083 square degrees, it is known as the 8th largest constellation in our sky. There has
only been one meteor shower that has ever been linked with the constellation, and this was the
result of earth passing through a comets dust trail. ("Star Constellation Facts: Draco." Astronomy
Trek. 2012. Web. Mar.-Apr. 2016. <http://www.astronomytrek.com/star-constellation-factsdraco/>.)

Draco was first discovered and charted by a Greek


astronomer by the name of Ptolemy in the 2nd century. It
also shares the same region of sky with some very
interesting objects as well. The first one that we have
already heard about is the Cats Eye Nebula, which is a
planetary nebula that is shaped like a disc, formed by a
very hot and rather bright central star that lost its outer envelope several millions of years ago.
The next object is known as the Spindle Galaxy, and it is a lenticular galaxy with a very
noticeable dusk disk. By many it is considered to be a candidate for Messier 102, which is a
galaxy that it resembles very closely. The last object is known as the Draco Dwarf Galaxy. This
galaxy is circular shaped, and is also a satellite galaxy to the Milky Way. The interstellar dust that
is on this galaxy is of a minimal amount, and it contains mainly older stars, most of which being
red giants, carbon stars and a little more than 250 variables as well. (Star Constellation Facts:
Draco." Astronomy Trek. 2012. Web. Mar.-Apr. 2016. <http://www.astronomytrek.com/starconstellation-facts-draco/>.)

Bibliography
http://starryskies.com/The_sky/constellations/draco.html
http://www.solarsystemquick.com/universe/draco-constellation.htm
http://www.windows2universe.org/the_universe/Constellations/circumpolar/draco.html
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Draco_%28constellation%29
http://www.astronomytrek.com/star-constellation-facts-draco/
http://www.topastronomer.com/StarCharts/Constellations/Draco.php
Thompson, Robert and Barbra. "O'Reilly Media, Inc.", 2007, Illustrated Guide to Astronomical
Wonders.
Pictures in order:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Draco_%28constellation%29
http://starryskies.com/The_sky/constellations/draco.html
http://www.esotericonline.net/group/astrosymbolism/forum/topics/the-staring-serpent-in-thetree-the-northern-constellation-of