We use cookies to deliver essential features and to measure their performance. By using this site you accept our Privacy Policies.
A Complete Guide to the Solar System and the Night Sky
Your support keeps us free & ad-free » Donate
public Observing fromLocation: Greenwich, United Kingdom edit_location_alt
SunriseRise: 6:48  
clear_day Transit: 12:11  
SunsetSet: 17:34
sunny DaytimeWhat's Visible Now?
All Constellations » 

Ursa Major (The Great Bear) Constellation

Altitude: 15.6°   Azimuth: 4.4°   Direction: North

Ursa Major (pronounced ˌɜːrsə ˈmeɪdʒər) is the Latin name of a large constellation (in fact it extends itself for about 55 degrees across the sky) situated north of the celestial equator. As such, it is more easily visible from the northern hemisphere.

In English language this constellation is also known as "The Great bear" while in astronomical texts and literature this constellation is often abbreviated as "UMa" (according to the standard of the International Astronomical Union - IAU) or as "UMaj" (according to a naming convention used by NASA).

The Latin genitive of the constellation name is "Ursae Majoris" (pronounced ˌɜːrsiː məˈdʒɒrɪs) and it is used to identify some of the brightest stars in this constellation based on the Bayer or Flamsteed star naming convention. For instance: α Ursae Majoris (the brightest star of Ursa Major based on the Bayer catalog); or 23 Ursae Majoris (the 23th star in the constellation of Ursa Major based on the Flamsteed catalog).

Ursa Major is above the horizon from Greenwich, United Kingdom edit_location_alt. Altitude: 16°.
Available Resources for Ursa Major

Sky Chart of Ursa Major Constellation

Here we provide a simplified sky chart of the Ursa Major constellation. Alternatively it is possible to locate Ursa Major in the night sky using our Online Interactive Planetarium.

Chart of  constellation
This constellation image is derivatve work based on original work by IAU and Sky & Telescope magazine (Roger Sinnott & Rick Fienberg) CC-BY-3.0.

Visibility of Ursa Major Constellation

Location: Greenwich, United Kingdom edit_location_alt
Latitude: 51° 28’ 47” N
Longitude: 0° 00’ 00” E
Timezone: Europe/London

Ursa Major is circumpolar and transits at 00:29 UTC (altitude: 87.5°)

The rise and set times provided here are just directional indications and they refer to a point approximately placed at the center of the constellation. In case of very large constellations (like Ursa Major actually is) these times can have little relevance.

Bright Stars in Ursa Major Constellation

The table below lists the top 20 brightest stars in the Ursa Major constellation. See also the complete list of 223 stars brighter than magnitude 6.5 (approximate) in the constellation of Ursa Major. Click on each star to see more details about it.

HR Number(*) Star designation Proper name Visual magnitude Color Notes
HR4905 ε Ursae Majoris Alioth 1.77 Variable;
HR4301 α Ursae Majoris Dubhe 1.79 Variable; Double;
HR5191 η Ursae Majoris Alkaid 1.86 Variable;
HR5054 ζ Ursae Majoris Mizar 2.27 Variable; Multiple;
HR4295 β Ursae Majoris Merak 2.37 Variable;
HR4554 γ Ursae Majoris Phecda 2.44 Variable;
HR4335 ψ Ursae Majoris 3.01
HR4069 μ Ursae Majoris Tania Australis 3.05 Variable;
HR3569 ι Ursae Majoris Talitha 3.14 Variable; Multiple;
HR3775 θ Ursae Majoris 3.17 Variable; Double;
HR4660 δ Ursae Majoris Megrez 3.31 Variable; Multiple;
HR3323 ο Ursae Majoris Muscida 3.36 Variable; Multiple;
HR4033 λ Ursae Majoris Tania Borealis 3.45
HR4377 ν Ursae Majoris Alula Borealis 3.48 Double;
HR3594 κ Ursae Majoris Alkaphrah 3.6 Variable; Double;
HR3757 23 Ursae Majoris 3.67 Variable; Multiple;
HR4518 χ Ursae Majoris Taiyangshou 3.71 Variable;
HR3888 υ Ursae Majoris 3.8 Variable; Double;
HR5055 ζ Ursae Majoris 3.95 Variable; Multiple;
HR5062 80 Ursae Majoris Alcor 4.01 Variable;
...go to the complete list of 223 bright stars in the constellation of Ursa Major

(*) HR stands for Harvard Revised Bright Star Catalogue, which is also known as the Yale Catalogue of Bright Stars.

Deep Sky Objects in Ursa Major Constellation

The table below lists the 20 brightest deep sky objects in the Ursa Major constellation. See also the complete list of 514 deep sky objects in the constellation of Ursa Major. The list includes objects from the Messier, New General Catalogue (NGC) and Index Catalogue (IC).

Name Type Magnitude
Messier 81 (Bode's Galaxy) Galaxy 6.94 (V)
Messier 101 (The Pinwheel Galaxy) Galaxy 7.86 (V)
Messier 82 (Cigar Galaxy) Galaxy 8.41 (V)
NGC 2841 Galaxy 9.22 (V)
NGC 2768 Galaxy 9.87 (V)
Messier 109 Galaxy 9.88 (V)
Messier 97 (Owl Nebula) Planetary Nebula 9.9 (V)
Messier 108 Galaxy 10.06 (V)
NGC 3077 Galaxy 10.14 (V)
NGC 2976 Galaxy 10.16 (V)
NGC 2681 Galaxy 10.29 (V)
NGC 3198 Galaxy 10.33 (V)
NGC 3938 Galaxy 10.38 (V)
NGC 3184 Galaxy 10.4 (B)
NGC 3359 Galaxy 10.57 (V)
NGC 2985 Galaxy 10.61 (V)
NGC 3718 Galaxy 10.61 (V)
NGC 3893 Galaxy 10.67 (V)
...go to the complete list of 514 deep sky objects in the constellation of Ursa Major