04/07/2016 – Ephemeris – The Big Dipper, the Great Bear and the Fisher Star
Ephemeris for Thursday, April 7th. The Sun will rise at 7:11. It’ll be up for 13 hours and 6 minutes, setting at 8:18. The Moon is new today, and won’t be visible.
The constellation of Ursa Major, or great bear was well-known to the ancient Greeks and Native Americans. Today, however, many of us can recognize only part of it as the Big Dipper. The bear can be easily seen only in a dark sky, at 10 p.m. it’s high just north of the zenith with feet to the south. The stars in front of the bowl are the front part of his body and head. The bowl of the Big Dipper is his rump, and the handle his long tail. The Native Americans, saw those three stars as three hunters following the bear. The tribes of the Great Lakes region saw it as the Fisher Star, who brought summer to the Earth. These stars here do make a convincing bear, except for the tail, when seen on a dark night. The weasel-like Fisher Star fits the stars completely.
Times are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan. They may be different for your location.
Note: The Fisher Star illustration is an unattributed drawing from the Internet with a minor change.