Tonight … if you have a dark sky, make your acquaintance with the constellation Draco the Dragon, starting at nightfall. At mid-northern latitudes, Draco is a circumpolar constellation, meaning it is out all night long every night of the year. Northern Hemisphere summer evenings are the best time to look, because this is when the Dragon’s flashing eyes look down upon you from up high in the northern sky. This serpentine star figure wanders in between the Big and Little Dippers, with its tail found between the bowl of the Big Dipper and the star Polaris.
Draco the dragon is famous throughout mythology. This great beast was especially present in greek myth. One of the more popular stories involves Heracles and the twelve labors. Gaia gave Hera a golden apple tree when she married Zeus. Hera put the tree in the garden to be guarded by the Hesperides and a dragon called Ladon.
Heracles asks Atlas to gather the apples while he and Athena held up the sky. Atlas, thinking he could trick Heracles into holding the sky forever, gladly accepted the mission. When he returned with the apples, Heracles slipped the sky back on Atlas’ shoulders.
Yet another story is set during the Titan war with Zeus. Athena was attacked by a dragon. She flung it into the air, wrapping it around the pole. To this day, the dragon remains in the night sky.
The constellation, Draco, can be found revolving around the celestial North Pole. This type of constellation is said to be circumpolar.
It’s said you can see Draco in the aurora borealis ( northern Lights) if you watch closely.
Draco, Dragon of the North
36 x 36 inch Deep Canvas