Ursa (pronounced ER-suh) is made up of two constellations in the night sky. Ursa Major (the Great Bear) and Ursa Minor (the Little Bear) are visible throughout the year in the UK. Ursa is a circumpolar constellation that contains Polaris – the North Star – which is approximately above the North Pole and remains relatively still and ever present and is very useful for navigation. Ursa Major the larger constellation contains the asterism (the recognisable shape) of the plough. The bucket of the plough points to Polaris in the constellation Ursa Minor.
The Great Bear may be the oldest constellation, dating back to a Paleolithic bear cult 50,000 years ago. In Greek mythology, Ursa Major is identified with Callisto, a renowned huntress who was transformed into a bear by Zeus’ wife Hera.