Stars in Draco

by Anne Wright 

from TheFixedStars Website









Decl 1950




Nodus 11 Altaisy delta



288 08 14

+67 34 25

+82 53 06



Tyl epsilon



297 05 17

+70 08 26

+79 29 15






283 45 15

+71 13 51

+83 12 60






275 22 08

+71 18 42

+84 52 14






275 29 22

+72 42 42

+83 33 34



Dziban psi



265 42 26

+72 10 26

+84 11 02



Giansar lamda



172 06 53

+69 36 26

+57 14 13






264 18 36

+68 46 52

+86 53 55






187 50 24

+70 03 49

+61 45 31



Thuban alpha



210 45 30

+64 36 51

+66 21 38



Nodus 1 zeta



257 09 33

+65 46 34

+84 45 45



Edasich iota body



230 57 12

+59 08 26

+71 05 40






245 49 37

+61 37 37

+78 26 34



Theta Neck



240 14 14

+58 41 53

+74 26 21



Arrakis mu Head



256 04 21

+54 32 08

+76 14 18



Kuma nu Head



262 47 50

+55 13 04

+78 09 10



Alwaid beta Head



262 19 32

+52 20 15

+75 17 02



Grumium xi Head



268 09 55

+56 52 47

+80 17 15



Etamin gamma Head



268 51 39

+51 29 38

+74 55 44







Notes and history


Draco, the Dragon, circles around the North Pole.


It is a long figure covering a large part of the northern sky, and in proper dragon fashion, it twists this way and that. Except for those stars that form Draco's eyes, the stars of this constellation are not very bright. Consequently, it is quite an achievement to follow the meandering curve of the grotesque body of the Dragon as it winds its way between the Great Bear and the Little Bear


The constellation is circumpolar; not far from the North Pole. In fact Thuban (alpha Draconis) was once the Pole Star. Quite fittingly, Hercules (Heracles) is just to the east of Draco (11th labor of Hercules relates to Ladon, the dragon). Some cartographers actually draw the figure of Hercules with one foot resting on the head of Draco. [NPS p.237, SLM p.202]. 


Five thousand years ago the Earth's axis did not point towards Polaris, our present North Pole Star, but to alpha-Draconis, or Thuban. For people living then, this star must have seemed to be as fixed in the sky as Polaris appears to be to us (because it doesn't rise or set in different seasons, it is always visible).


Referring to Draco's change of position in respect to the pole from the effect of precession, Proctor wrote in his Myths and Marvels of Astronomy;

"One might almost, if fancifully disposed, recognize the gradual displacement of the Dragon from his old place of honor, in certain traditions of the downfall of the great Dragon whose 'tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven' alluded to in The Revelation xii, 4; and the conclusion of that verse, 'did cast them to the earth' would show a possible reference to meteors".

[SLM p.203].

Draco was described in the Shield of Hercules, with the two Dogs, the Hare, Orion, and Perseus, as "The scaly horror of a dragon, coiled, full in the central field". 


Julius Schiller (1627), who reinterpreted the constellations in Christian terms, without thought of its previous character, said that its stars represented the Holy Innocents of Bethlehem. Others, more consistently, that it was the Old Serpent, the tempter of Eve in the Garden. Caesius (Dutch astronomical writer) likened it to the Great Dragon that the Babylonians worshiped with Bel. [SLM]. 


In Persia Draco was Azhdeha, the Man-eating Serpent. Babylonian records allude to some constellation near the pole as a Snail, drawn along on the tail of a Dragon, that may have been our constellation; while among the inscriptions we find Sir, a Snake, but to which of the sky serpents this applied is uncertain, some see here the dragon Tiamat, overcome by the kneeling sun-god Izhdubar or Gizdhubar, our Hercules (11th labor), whose foot is upon it. Rawlinson, however, said that Draco represented Hea or Hoa, the third god in the Assyrian triad, also known as Kim-mut. 


This notable creation of Euphratean mythology was the personification of primeval chaos, hostile to the gods and opposed to law and order; but Izhdubar conquered the monster in a struggle by driving a wind into its opened jaws and so splitting it in twain. As a Chaldaean figure it probably bore the horns and claws of the early typical dragon, and the wings that Thales utilized to form the Lesser Bear, Ursa Minor; hence these are never shown on our maps.


But with that people it was a much longer constellation than with us, winding downwards and in front of Ursa Major, and, even into later times, clasped both of the Bears in its folds; this is shown in manuscripts and books as late as the 17th century, with the combined title Arctoe et Draco. It still almost encloses Ursa Minor. [SLM]. 


The usual figuring is a combination of bird and reptile, magnus et tortus, a Konstrum snirabile and Konatrum audax, or plain Konstrum with Germanicus. It still almost encloses Ursa Minor. The usual figuring is a combination of bird and reptile, magnus et tortus, a Monstrum mirabile and Monstnun audax, or plain Monstrum with Germanicus.


Vergil had Maximus Anguis, which, after the manner of a river, glides away with tortuous windings, around and through between the Bears; - a simile that may have given rise to another figure and title, found in the Argonauticae, - Ladon, from the prominent river of Arcadia, or, more probably, the estuary bounding the Garden of the Hesperides, which, in the ordinary version of the story, Draco guarded, "the emblem of eternal vigilance in that it never set". Here he was Coluber arborem conscendens, and Custos Hesperidum, 'the Watcher Over the Golden Fruit'. [SLM p.204].


Draco's stars were circumpolar about 5000 BCE, and, like all those similarly situated, - of course few in number owing to the low latitude of the Nile country, - were much observed in early Egypt, although differently figured than as with us. Some of them were a part of the Hippopotamus, or of its variant the Crocodile, and thus shown on the planisphere of Denderah and the walls of the Ramesseum at Thebes. As such Delitzsch says that it was Hes-mut, perhaps meaning the Raging Mother. An object resembling a ploughshare held in the creature's paws has fancifully been said to have given name to the adjacent Plough, Ursa Major


The hieroglyph for this Hippopotamus was used for the heavens in general; while the constellation is supposed to have been a symbol of Isis Hathor, Athor, or Athyr, the Egyptian Venus; and Lockyer asserts that the myth of Horus which deals with the Hor-she-shu, an almost prehistoric people even in Egyptian records, makes undoubted reference to stars here; although subsequently this myth was transferred to the Thigh, our Ursa Major. [SLM].


Among Arabian astronomers, the whole constellation was referred to as the Poisonous Dragon. That there was some foundation for this may be inferred from the traditional belief of early astrologers that when a comet was here, poison was scattered over the world. 


Al Shuja, the Snake, also was applied to Draco by the Arabians, as it was to Hydra; and Al Hayyah, the Snake, appeared for it, though more common for our Serpens, with which word it was synonymous.


Williams mentions a great comet, seen from China in 1337, which passed through Yuen Wei, apparently some unidentified stars in Draco. The creature itself was the national emblem of that country, but the Dragon of the Chinese zodiac was among the stars that are now our Libra. [SLM p.206.].


Edkins writes that Draco was Tsi Kung, the Palace of the Heavenly Emperor, adding, that this palace "is bounded by the stars of Draco, fifteen in number, which stretch themselves in an oval shape round the pole-star. It was itself the pole in the Epoch of the commencement of Chinese astronomy" [SLM].


There are three well known stories of the Dragon which all relate to this constellation. 


One is of the dragon Ladon, who guarded the apples in the land of the Hesperides. Another where Draco became Sidus Minervae et Bacchi or the monster killed by Cadmus (that myth is given below too) at the fount of Mars, whose teeth he sowed for a crop of armed men. [SLM].





The symbology of the Dragon


See Barry Long's feature excerpted from the book; The Origins of Man and the Universe.


Subtitle: The Myth That Came to Life. Features; Yang and Yin; Life on Earth and Cosmic Evolution; Man's sense of time; The Draconic Syndrome; Real Energy; The Basis of Astrology; The influence of the Sun and the Moon. The character of myth and the Draconic Transverse (Draco).


There are three well known stories of the Dragon which are said to relate to this constellation. One is of the dragon Ladon, who guarded the apples in the land of the Hesperides.


This constellation is associated with the dragon slain by Cadmus, the brother of Europa - who was carried off to Crete by Jupiter in the form of a bull. See this page for that story

"Some also say this Draco was thrown at Minerva [Athene] by the Gigantes (Giants), when she fought them. Minerva [Athena], however, snatched its twisted form and threw it to the stars, and fixed it at the very pole of heaven. And so to this day it appears with twisted body, as if recently transported to the stars."

- Hyginus, Astronomica 2.3

Dragons abound in myths from many lands. Many of those myths describe how the world was formed, with a dragon playing the star role. Draco comes from the word meaning to see or watch, and the dragon is often guarding something such as the golden apples in the garden of the Hesperides. To win the treasure, the monster guarding it has to be overcome. Usually a horrible dragon-monster must be slain by one of the young gods of the new order. 


The warrior-god who is successful, then fashions the Universe out of the hacked-up bits and pieces of the dragon-monster. [NPS p.237]. 


The other legend takes us to primordial times when the Titanic gods still fought with the Olympic gods for the supremacy of the Universe, the Snake snatched by Minerva (Pallas Athena) from the giants and whirled to the sky. The battle between the old Titanic gods and the new generation of the Olympic gods raged and the heavens reverberated with the din of war. Jupiter, the commander of the Olympians, his lieutenants Neptune and Pluto, and the many lesser deities were on the one side.


Against these Olympians were the Giant Titans, amongst whom were many ugly monsters, the dragon being one of them. When, so the legend says, the battle had lasted for more than ten years, it neared its climax. The dragon, on this occasion, opposed Minerva, the Goddess of Wisdom. Minerva seized the dragon by its tail and, with a mighty swing, hurled it from the Earth. As the dragon sailed away into the void of Heaven, it started to spin and turn and got itself all twisted up in many knots. 


After a long journey, the dragon struck the dome of the stars where it became tangled because of the rotation of the heavens. Before it had time to undo all the knots in its body, the dragon froze because it was so close to the North Celestial Pole where it is always very cold. Today we see the Dragon as it was last seen many thousands of years ago, at the end of the long and fierce battle between the Titans and the Olympians. [NPS p.237].


The dragon has always been seen as an animal of evil and darkness, and whenever there is an eclipse of the Sun or Moon, ancient people believed that a dragon was about to devour the Light of Day or the Queen of Night [the nodes of the moon are the dragon's head and tail]. The only remedy for this circumstance was to create as much noise as possible with all kinds of contrivances - such as drums, tin cans, lids, pots and pans. If frightened, the dragon would spit out the Sun or Moon. [NPS].


[Website author's note: The Ouroboros dragon could be Draco but I am not certain about this ...]  


From  "An illustrated Encyclopaedia of Traditional Symbols"

"This constellation [Draco] represents the Ouroboros which is depicted as a serpent or dragon biting its own tail. 'My end is my beginning'. 'It symbolizes the undifferentiated, the totality, primordial unity, self-sufficiency. It begets, weds, impregnates, and slays itself. It is the circle of disintegration and reintegration, power that eternally consumes and renews itself, the eternal cycle, cyclic time, spatial infinity, truth and cognition in one, the united primordial parents, the Androgyne, the primeval waters, darkness before creation, the restriction of the universe in the chaos of the waters before the coming of light, the potential before actualization.

In many myths it encircles the whole world and is the circular course of the waters surrounding the earth. It can both support and maintain the world and injects death into life and life into death.


Apparently immobile, it is yet perpetual motion, forever recoiling upon itself. In Orphic cosmology it encircles the Cosmic Egg. It is also called Heracles (another constellation) which identifies it with the solar passage. Macrobius identifies it with the movement of the sun. The Alpha and Omega are often depicted with the Ouroboros. In alchemy it is the unredeemed power of nature, latent power, the unformed materia, the opus circulare of chemical substances in the hermetic vessel.

"To the Greeks it represents the 'all in one', the All that was from the beginning like an egg, with the serpent (pneuma) as the tight band or circle round it (Epicurus). In Orphic symbolism it is the circle round the Cosmic Egg and is Aeon, the life-span of the universe. In Hindu, as latent energy, it shares the symbolism of the kundalhini."

[p.123 "An illustrated Encyclopaedia of Traditional Symbols", 1978, J.C. Cooper, Thames and Hudson].

Broadly speaking, present-day psychology defines the dragon-symbol as 'something terrible to overcome', for only he who conquers the dragon becomes a hero. Jung goes as far as to say that the dragon is a mother-image (that is, a mirror of the maternal principle or of the unconscious) and that it expresses the individual's repugnance towards incest and the fear of committing it, although he also suggests that it quite simply represents evil.


Esoteric Hebrew tradition insists that the deepest meaning of the mystery of the dragon must remain inviolate (according to the rabbi Simeon ben Yochai, quoted by Blavatsky). The universal dragon of the Gnostics is the way through all things'. It is related to the concept of chaos 'our Chaos or Spirit is a fiery dragon which conquers all things' and of dissolution ('The dragon is the dissolution of bodies').


Regarding symbols of dissolution, Hermetic doctrine uses the following terms: Poison, viper, universal solvent, philosophical vinegar the potential of the undifferentiated (or the Solve), according to Evola.


He adds that dragons and bulls are the animals fought by sun-heroes (such as Mithras, Siegfried, Hercules, Jason, Horus, or Apollo) and bearing in mind the equations woman=dragon, mercury and water; and green='what is undigested' - that 'if the dragon reappears in the centre of the "Citadel of Philosophers" of Khunrath, it is still a dragon which has to be conquered and slain:

it is that which everlastingly devours its own self, it is Mercury as an image of burning thirst or hunger or the blind impulse towards gratification', or, in other words, Nature enthralled and conquered by Nature, or the mystery of the lunar world of change and becoming as opposed to the world of immutable being governed by Uranus. A will which desires and yet has nothing capable of satisfying it except its own self, as 'the ability of hunger to feed itself'.

[A DICTIONARY OF SYMBOLS by J.E. Cirlot. English translation 1967 Routledge & Kegan Paul ISBN 0 7102 0017 X].

The Karnak temples of Ramses and Khons at Thebes were oriented to the star in the right Eye of the Dragon, Gamma Draco, Etamin or Rastaban. It was the pole star about 3500 BC, Thuban was the pole star about 2700 BCE (Polaris in Ursa Minor is closest to a pole star now as it closely marks the Celestial North Pole).


From Brewers Book of Myth and Legends:  To sow dragons teeth; to forment contentions; to stir up strife or war; especially to do something which is intended to put an end to strife but which brings it about.





The Dragon in the Bible


The Old Testament

Job 30:29 "I am a brother to dragons, and a companion to owls." 

Isaiah 27:1 "In that day the Lord with his sore and great and strong sword shall punish leviathan the piercing serpent, even leviathan that crooked serpent; and he shall slay the dragon that is in the sea."

[Job 26, 13] "By his spirit he hath garnished the heavens; his hand hath formed the crooked serpent."

Jeremiah 9:11 "And I will make Jerusalem heaps, and a den of dragons; and I will make the cities of Judah desolate, without an inhabitant."

The New Testament

Revelation 16:13 "And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet."

The astrological influence of the constellation   


According to Ptolemy the bright stars are like Saturn and Mars. Draco gives an artistic and emotional but somber nature, a penetrating and analytical mind, much travel and many friends, but danger of robbery and accidental poisoning. It gives craft, ingenuity, and valor. 
The Ancients said that when a comet was here, poison was scattered over the world. By the Kabalists it is associated with the Hebrew letter Mem and the 13th Tarot Trump "Death". (Robson). 



Events in History

  • On July fourth, 1776, the Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence. - NNode/Giansar

  • May 17th 1792, the New York Stock Exchange was founded by brokers meeting under a tree located on what is now Wall Street. - NNode/Edasich

  • April 21st 1836, an army of Texans led by Sam Houston defeated the Mexicans at San Jacinto, assuring Texas independence - Pluto/Nodus 11

  • Jan 6th 1838 - The telegraph was demonstrated for the first time in public at the Speedwell Iron Works in Morristown, New Jersey this day by Samuel F.B. Morse. - Pluto/Nodus 11

  • W.H. Fox Talbot produces first photographic negative, Jan 25 1839. - Saturn/Kuma

  • January 24th, 1848, James W. Marshall discovered a gold nugget at Sutter's Mill in northern California, a discovery that led to the gold rush of '49. - Uranus/Nodus 2

  • Feb 26th 1848, the Second French Republic was proclaimed. - Uranus/Nodus 11

  • Jan 4 1885 - Dr. William Grant of Davenport, IA, performed the first successful appendectomy. - Uranus/Edasich

  • Mao Tse-Tung born Dec 26 1893 - NNode /Nodus11

  • 1894 - W.K. Dickson received a patent for motion picture film. A demonstration included a 47-frame film (about 2 seconds) that showed a man sneezing. - NNode/Nodus 11

  • Jan 5th 1896, an Austrian newspaper ("Wiener Presse") reported the discovery by German physicist Wilhelm Roentgen of a type of radiation that came to be known as "X-rays." - Uranus/Arrakis

  • Jan 2nd 1900, Secretary of State John Hay announced the "Open Door Policy" to facilitate trade with China. - Uranus

  • Mar 14th 1900, Congress ratified the Gold Standard Act. - Jupiter/Alwaid

  • Ford Motor Company formed Jun 16 1903 - Uranus/Grumium

  • Wright brothers 1st flight in heavier-than-air craft Dec 17 1903 - Uranus/Etamin

  • Mar 7th 1926, the first successful trans-Atlantic radio-telephone conversation took place, between New York and London. - Pluto/Dziban

  • April 14th 1931, King Alfonso the 13th of Spain went into exile, and the Spanish Republic was proclaimed. - Uranus/Nodus 11, Jupiter/Dziban

  • June 1st, 1933 Monsanto (agricultural chemicals) first trading 10.00 AM EDT New York - Neptune/Thuban

  • Jan 27th 1944, the Soviet Union announced the end of the deadly German siege of Leningrad, which had lasted for more than two years. - Neptune/Edasich

  • Mar 24th 1944, in occupied Rome, the Nazis executed more than 300 civilians in reprisal for an attack by Italian partisans the day before that killed 32 German soldiers. - Neptune /Nodus 1

  • Aug 25th 1944, After America entered the war in Europe, the Allies liberated Paris and hence defeated the Germans and freed Europe - Pluto/Giansar

  • Allies liberated Paris, Aug 25th 1944 - Pluto/Giansar, Neptune/Nodus 1

  • Jan 9th 1945, during World War Two, American forces began landing at Lingayen Gulf in the Philippines and hence freed Asia from the Japanese. - Pluto /Giansar

  • Jan 27th 1945, Soviet troops liberated the Nazi concentration camps Auschwitz and Birkenau in Poland. - Pluto/Giansar, Neptune/Nodus1

  • April 25th 1945, during World War Two, US and Soviet forces linked up on the Elbe River, a meeting that dramatized the collapse of Nazi Germany's defenses. - Neptune/Edasich

  • April 25th 1945, delegates from some 50 countries met in San Francisco to organize the United Nations. - Neptune/Edasich

  • United Nations Charter signed in San Francisco, June 26 1945 - Pluto/Giansar

  • Hirosima bomb Aug 6 1945, Surrender of Japan, Aug 14th - Pluto /Giansar, Neptune /Edasich

  • May 11th 1946, the first packages from the relief agency CARE (Cooperative for American Remittances to Europe) arrived in Europe, at Le Havre, France. - Pluto/Giansar

  • July 1st 1946, the United States exploded a 20-kiloton atomic bomb near Bikini Atoll in the Pacific. - Pluto/Giansar
    People's Republic of China proclaimed, Oct 1st 1949 - NNode /Nodus11

  • 27th 1 1951 an era of atomic testing in the Nevada desert began as an Air Force plane dropped a one-kiloton bomb on Frenchman Flats.- Saturn/Nodus 1

  • April 11th 1953, Oveta Culp Hobby became the first Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare. - SNode/Giansar
    Sputnik I launched, Oct 4th 1957 - Saturn/Kuma

  • January 31st, 1958, the United States entered the Space Age with its first successful launch of a satellite into orbit, "Explorer One." - Uranus/Giansar

  • July 3rd 1962, Algeria became independent after 132 years of French rule. - NNode/Giansar

  • Jan 27th 1967, more than 60 nations signed a treaty banning the orbiting of nuclear weapons. - Neptune /Arrakis

  • February 27th, 1973, members of the American Indian Movement occupied the hamlet of Wounded Knee in South Dakota, the site of the 1890 massacre of Sioux men, women and children. (The occupation lasted until May.) - Pluto/Nodus 1

  • January 22nd, 1973, the Supreme Court handed down its "Roe versus Wade" decision, which legalized abortion, using a trimester approach. - Pluto/Edasich

  • Feb 12th 1973, the first release of American prisoners of war from the Vietnam conflict took place. - Pluto/Edasich

  • April 30th 1975, the South Vietnamese capital of Saigon fell to Communist forces. - Saturn/Dziban

  • April 7th 1976, China's leadership deposed Deputy Prime Minister Deng Xiaoping and appointed Hua Kuo-feng prime minister and first deputy chairman of the Communist Party. - Jupiter/Tyl

  • Earthquake July 27, 1976 China, Tangshan 255,000* dead 8.0 - Neptune /Alwaid Poison scattered over the earth
    April 12th 1981, the space shuttle "Columbia" blasted off from Cape Canaveral on its first test flight. - Saturn/Edasich

  • April 4th 1983, the space shuttle "Challenger" roared into orbit on its maiden voyage. - Jupiter/Alwaid

  • May 7th 1984, a $180 million out-of-court settlement was announced in the "Agent Orange" class-action suit brought by Vietnam veterans who charged they'd suffered injury from exposure to the defoliant. - Uranus/Alwaid

  • April 26th, 1986, the world's worst nuclear accident occurred at the Chernobyl plant in the Soviet Union. An explosion and fire in the number-four reactor sent radioactivity into the atmosphere; at least 31 Soviets died immediately. - Solar eclipse on April 9th/Nodus11

  • Jan 4th 1988 Drinking water began to dry up in Pittsburgh suburbs because of a massive diesel oil spill two days earlier that fouled the Monongahela and Ohio Rivers. - Uranus /Etamin

  • Jan 16th 1991, the White House announced the start of Operation Desert Storm to drive Iraqi forces out of Kuwait. Jupiter/Gianzar

  • Jan 13th 1993 The space shuttle "Endeavor" blasted off from Cape Canaveral, and American and allied warplanes raided southern Iraq. - Pluto/Arrakis

  • Jan 13th 1993 when American and allied warplanes raided southern Iraq Saddham Hussein used poison gas bombs and blew up oil wells. - Pluto /Arrakis

  • Feb 19th 1997 Deng Xiaoping, the last of China's major Communist revolutionaries, died. - Mars/Edasich

  • October 15 1997 at 4:43 EDT (8:43 GMT) from Cape Canaveral Cassini spacecraft was launched. It will arrive at Saturn in 2004 to begin studying the ringed planet and its moon Titan. Cassini carries 30 kgs of Plutonium onboard. - Saturn /Nodus1, Mars/Alwaid





  • SLM = "Starnames, Their Lore and Meaning" Richard Hinchley Allen, 1889, a reference book on the history of the stars and constellations for astronomers, Dover Publications 1963 (more recent publications available).

  • BML = "Brewers Book of Myth and Legend" written in the Victorian era (?), Cassell Publishers Ltd, Helicon, 1994.

  • SHC = The pictures of the constellations come from the "Starlore Handbook, An Essential Guide to the Night Sky" (DBP) by Geoffrey Cornelius. Geoffrey has also authored "The Moment of Astrology: Origins in divination" which has been welcomed as one of the most important astrological studies in the modern era.

  • ENC = Encarta® World English Dictionary © & (P) 1999 Microsoft Corporation. Developed for Microsoft by Bloomsbury Publishing Plc. Electronic version.

  • DSC = A DICTIONARY OF SYMBOLS by J.E. Cirlot. English translation 1967 Routledge & Kegan Paul ISBN 0 7102 0017 X

  • IEC = "An illustrated Encyclopaedia of Traditional Symbols", 1978, JC Cooper, Thames and Hudson.

  • PDS = "The Penguin Dictionary of Symbols", 1969, Jean Chevalier and Alain Gheerbrant" translated by John Buchanan-Brown, Penguin books.

  • NPS = "The New Patterns in the Sky" Julius D.W. Staal 1988, The Macdonald and Woodward publishing Company.

Back to Contents



"GO TO"....DRACO, Ursa Major and Cepheus

Dithering in the Domain of the Dangling Celestial Dragon...
by Clay Sherrod

Last updated: 5 May 2001

from ObservationalGuidesAndReferences Website

The constellation of DRACO (pronounced "DRAY-co") is a large, winding and meandering string of stars that pretty much fills the high northern skies of spring and summer. The slithering dragon has been of much greater significance in history than we see it today, particularly in the mysticism of the Egyptian times of the Great Pyramids and Pharaohs.

The skies of 5,000 years ago were noticeably different than they are today; yes, the "fixed stars for the most part were right where we know them to presently be, but the EARTH itself was tilted to a slightly different vantage aspect of "precession" that is a result of the Earth's axis pivoting over a long period of time, like a wobbling toy top. As it does, the axes of the Earth - both north and south - will point to different parts of the sky.

That's right.... Polaris has NOT always been our "north star." Boy Scouts of ancient Pharaocian Egypt would have to learn another way of reckoning "north" than by the bright dipper stars Duhbe and Merak.





Indeed, ancient skywatchers - the Priests - of Egypt about 3,000 B.C. were much aware that the not-so-bright star THUBAN was the "north star" of those skies long ago.


The diagram above demonstrates the constellations of Draco, Ursa Major and Ursa Minor as they appear to "move" (actually it is the Earth that is wobbling and pointing differently, not the constellations) and hence rotate the honor of hosting the "Pole Star" in this past 5,000 years.

Interestingly, in "only" 15,000 MORE years, this precession will have continued until the brightest possible "north star" ever will be in position.... the brilliant white VEGA, in the constellation of Lyra!

The designation of a DRAGON, or "water dragon" to Draco is due probably to two aspects:

1) its brighter stars meander through the sky in string-like fashion that can easily be imagined as the long neck and tail of the dreaded creature

2) more importantly is the ancient legend of the Nile of which a "dragon" is very important to the people of Egypt

The Nile river - and hence all rivers pretty much - was life-giving to the ancient Egyptians, its springtime floods providing the irrigation necessary to sustain crops for the growing population.


The clouds of the brilliant late spring and summer Milky Way were envisioned by these people as a great celestial river, along which the SUN GOD RA would ride in a boat on a daily course through this great river. His head was the mighty sun which shone in full brilliance and majesty when directly overhead.


In the Egyptian hieroglyph below you can clearly see RA in the center of the river boat, wearing the brilliant sun atop his (its) head. The identities of the other curious features (except the stars surrounding the boat) are unknown.





Occasionally, the great RA would be overtaken and devoured in this journey by a huge Water Dragon and the bright sun would disappear from sight (this was the solar eclipse in case you are wondering). But much to the credit and strength of mighty RA, the sun would ALWAYS pop forth and emerge from the belly of the great Water Dragon.

At any rate, the importance of this star - THUBAN - in the "water dragon" is even more compounded when we consider that it appears that the Great Pyramid of Khufu at Gizeh - the most perfect giant structure in the world - was constructed in such a way that a shaft in the pyramid is aligned precisely to Thuban on or about 2,830 B.C.


The precision of this alignment of this incredibly narrow and extremely long shaft with what was then the Pole Star appears to be anything but coincidental.





The below chart shows the reference numbers apply to the concise listing of objects found following. The outlines that portray Draco can easily be imagined into the shape of our slithering water dragon.... on the other hand, much imagination is required to see a "lesser bear" in Ursa Minor and more so a "king" in Cepheus.

Just for the record, Cepheus discovered - or suspected in some mythology - his beautiful and young wife CASSIOPEIA as having some illicit dealings with the handsome, strong and heroic PERSEUS.


In a fit of jealous rage and resentment, King Cepheus banished the Queen eternally to the sky, strapped in her heavenly throne and perpetually encircling the pole, as the desperate Perseus follows in pursuit in the exact opposite part of the sky. Looking at a star chart or planisphere reveals quickly that, no matter how hard the poor chap tries.... he will NEVER catch up with the shackled Cassiopeia.

And.... watching the merry-go-round of love from afar: King Cepheus.





  • OBJECT 1: bright star - THUBAN(alpha Draconis) - R.A. 14h 03' / DEC + 64 37 - Magnitude: 3.6

  • OBJECT 2: great double star - Mu Draconis - R.A. 17h 04' / DEC + 54 32- Magnitudes: 5.5 & 5.5

  • OBJECT 3: tough triple star - KUMA - R.A. 17H 31'/ DEC + 55 13 - magnitudes: 4.9(2) AND 7.1 (2)

  • OBJECT 4: TEST for LX 90 - 20 Draconis - R.A. 16h 56' / DEC + 65 07 - Magnitudes: 7.1 & 7.3

  • OBJECT 5: one of the closest doubles - ADS11632 - R.A. 18h 43'/ + 59 30 - Magnitudes: 8.9 & 9.7

  • OBJECT 6: galaxy - Messier 102 (ngc5866) - R.A. 15h 05' / DEC + 55 57 - Magnitude: 10.8

  • OBJECT 7: planetary nebula - (ngc6543) - R.A. 17h 59' / DEC + 66 38- Magnitude: 8.5


  • OBJECT 8: north star - POLARIS - R.A. 01h 59'/ DEC + 89 02 - Magnitude: 2.1(v)

  • OBJECT 9: reference star - KOCHAB - R.A. 14h 51' / DEC + 74 22 - Magnitude: 2.0


  • OBJECT 10: nice double - Beta Cep (ALPHIRK) - R.A. 21h 28' / DEC + 70 20 - Magnitudes: 3.3 & 8.0

  • OBJECT 11: famous variable! Delta Cep - R.A. 22h 27' / DEC + 58 10 - Magnitude: 3.9 to 5.1 (5.37 days)

  • OBJECT 12: star cluster - (ngc188) - R.A. 00h 39' / DEC + 85 03 - Mag.: 9.3

  • OBJECT 13: large open cluster - (ngc6939) - R.A. 20h 30' / DEC + 60 28 - nice, 80 stars

  • OBJECT 14: diffuse nebula - (ngc7023) - R.A. 21h 01' / DEC + 67 58 - Magnitude: 7.2

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