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Glossary term: Big Dipper

Description: The Big Dipper is a well-known star pattern (or asterism, to use the technical term) which is part of the constellation Ursa Major in the northern sky. It consists of seven stars: Alkaid, Mizar, Alioth, Megrez, Phecda, Merak, and Dubhe. The end stars in the bowl of the Dipper can be used to locate the North Star. The fact that the seven stars are similar in brightness makes it especially notable (though Megrez is slightly fainter than the others), and it has been known under various names in many cultures. The five middle stars are part of a star cluster, moving together in space. Mizar is actually a double star; its companion is Alcor. Dubhe is reddish, the other six stars are white.

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Term and definition status: This term and its definition is still awaiting approval

The OAE Multilingual Glossary is a project of the IAU Office of Astronomy for Education (OAE) in collaboration with the IAU Office of Astronomy Outreach (OAO). The terms and definitions were chosen, written and reviewed by a collective effort from the OAE, the OAE Centers and Nodes, the OAE National Astronomy Education Coordinators (NAECs) and other volunteers. You can find a full list of credits here. All glossary terms and their definitions are released under a Creative Commons CC BY-4.0 license and should be credited to "IAU OAE".