"The stars swung counterclockwise in their course and the Great Bear turned and the Pleiades winked in the very roof of the vault."
Ursa Major as Great Bear from the Mercator celestial globe (1551)
Public DomainUrsa Major as Great Bear from the Mercator celestial globe (1551) - Credit: Harvard Map Collection
Ursa Major
Creative Commons AttributionUrsa Major - Credit: Dmitry Kalinin

The Great Bear is the common name for Ursa Major (Latin for 'Larger Bear'), a constellation visible throughout the year in most of the northern hemisphere. Ursa Major has been seen as a bear by many distinct civilizations.

 

 

 

 

 

A colour-composite image of the Pleiades
Public DomainA colour-composite image of the Pleiades - Credit: NASA
The Pleiades (1885), by Elihu Vedder
Public DomainThe Pleiades (1885), by Elihu Vedder - Credit: Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Pleiades is a star cluster located in the constellation of Taurus. The name comes from Greek mythology after the Seven Sisters,  the seven daughters of the titan Atlas and the sea-nymph Pleione. They were placed among the stars by Zeus to save them from the pursuit of Orion.