3.4 The Big Dipper (Ursa major)
Man gave the name “constellations” to certain groups of stars, the brightest of which resemble objects (Lyra), animals (Leo) or mythological characters (Cassiopeia, Orion).
Let’s take the Great Bear, which is well known because it represents a saucepan made up of seven stars that are visible to the naked eye.
The image seen from the Earth is the projection of these seven stars in an imaginary pattern projected on to the night sky. ln reality, they are at various distances from each other.
If we were to move away from the solar system and observe the Great Bear from another point of view, the original image would be completely distorted and unrecognisable.