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The Big Dipper over Sedona

By: Laurie Larson

 

Sedona, Arizona, USA

 

From the photographer: "The second 'star' in the handle of the Big Dipper is called Mizar - the Arabian word for girdle. It is actually two stars and under very good conditions it is possible for the naked eye to see the companion star, Alcor. The Big Dipper also contains one of the most beautiful spiral galaxies in the sky, Messier Object 81(M81), that can only be seen with a telescope in a dark sky location. According to some Native American legends, the bowl of the Big Dipper is a giant bear and the stars of the handle are three warriors chasing it. The constellation is low in the sky in autumn, so it was said that the hunters had injured the bear and its blood caused the trees to change color to red." Laurie Larson

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