- Recorder Online - http://www.berthoudrecorder.com -
EarthSky Tonight—Nov 12, Big Dipper, aka Sky Bear, comes to Earth on November evenings
Posted By Editor On November 11, 2010 @ 6:41 pm In Earth & Sky | Comments Disabled
Courtesy of EarthSky
A Clear Voice for Science
 In our northern hemisphere, the Big Dipper is probably the sky’s best-known asterism. In other words, it’s a recognizable pattern of stars – not an official constellation. The Big Dipper is part of the constellation Ursa Major, otherwise known as the Great Bear.
Every year, the Big Dipper (Great Bear) descends to its lowest point in the sky on November evenings. In fact, people in the southern part of the United States can’t see the Big Dipper in the evening right now, because it swings beneath their northern horizon.
Even in the northern states, the Big Bear is hard to spot. The Big Dipper skims along the northern horizon in the evening, ducking behind any obstructions – such as trees and mountains.
To the Micmac Indians living in southeast Canada, a Celestial Bear – our same familiar Big Dipper pattern – coming down to Earth signaled the start of hibernation season. This is when earthly bears return to their dens, and when the sap of trees returns to the warm womb of the underworld. Weary creation tucks in, waiting for winter’s deep slumber.
The Micmacs saw the Big Dipper  handle stars as hunters forever chasing Celestial Bear. In their skylore, hunters catch Celestial Bear each year in the fall, and it’s the dripping blood from the Bear that colors the autumn landscape.
The painting at left is another portrayal of the Big Dipper in November. It is Vincent van Gogh’s Starry Night Over the Rhone, painted in September 1888 at Arles. This image  – from Wikimedia Commons – depicts the Rhône River at night. Have you seen the Big Dipper in the configuration below? Can you see it tonight?
Written by Bruce McClure 
Universe Today 
StarDate Online 
Sky and Telescope 
National Geographic 
Space Com 
Simostronomy Blog 
Amazing Space 
Scope City 
Article printed from Recorder Online: http://www.berthoudrecorder.com
URL to article: http://www.berthoudrecorder.com/2010/11/11/earthsky-tonight%e2%80%94nov-12-big-dipper-aka-sky-bear-comes-to-earth-on-november-evenings/
URLs in this post:
 www.EarthSky.org: http://www.EarthSky.org
 Image: http://www.berthoudrecorder.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/phase.gif
 Image: http://www.berthoudrecorder.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/10nov12_4301.jpg
 Image: http://www.berthoudrecorder.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/great_bear2.jpg
 Big Dipper: http://earthsky.org/tonightpost/favorite-star-patterns/big-and-little-dippers-highlight-northern-sky
 Image: http://www.berthoudrecorder.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/Starry_Night_Over_the_Rhone_500.jpg
 Bruce McClure: http://earthsky.org/author/brucemcclure/
 Astronomy Picture of the Day from NASA/JPL: http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/
 CHANDRA Photo Album: http://chandra.harvard.edu/photo/
 U.S. Naval Observator Astronomical Information cente: http://www.usno.navy.mil/USNO/astronomical-applications/astronomical-information-center/astronomical-information-center
 Universe Today: http://www.universetoday.com/
 StarDate Online: http://stardate.org/
 Sky and Telescope: http://www.skyandtelescope.com/observing/ataglance/
 National Geographic: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/
 Space Com: http://www.space.com/nightsky/
 Simostronomy Blog: http://simostronomy.blogspot.com/
 Amazing Space: http://amazing-space.stsci.edu/tonights_sky/
 The York County Astronomical Society: http://www.ycas.org/tonights_sky.htm
 Scope City: http://www.scopecity.net/
Copyright © 2010 Berthoud Recorder. All rights reserved.