Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Ursa Minor - The Baby Bear

Part II: The Bear Strikes Back!
(See the April 10th blog below for Part I)
"What happened next? What happened next?" the kids asked the ancient shaman.

The storyteller stared up from the fire, stroked his beard, sat up straight, and said, "After the hunter threw the momma bear up into the sky (becoming the constellation Ursa Major), he continued on down the path. Soon he passed some bushes on the edge of a great forest. The hunter heard a strange noise coming from the bushes that caused him to stop. The bushes were making a pathetic whimpering noise (insert whimpering here). Now normally bushes don't make whimpering noises so his curiosity made him part the branches to see... the saddest, most pathetic-looking Baby Bear.

"The Baby Bear had lost his mommy. 'Oh boy,' thought the hunter. 'I think I know where mommy might be...' After all, he just threw her up in the sky 10 minutes ago and there she was shining down on everyone. The hunter could not climb up to the sky to bring momma back so he decided the only thing to do was to... Throw the Baby Bear up in the Sky!

"So the hunter grabbed the Baby Bear by his short stubby tail and swung him around over his head. And soon the Baby Bear's tail began stretching and stretching until the hunter let go ----- whoosh! The baby bear flew up and stuck - SPLAT! - to the sky not far from his momma."

And that is how the Big and Little Bear got into the sky.
Look for the Big and Little Bear in the northern sky tonight.  The Big Bear is easy to see since it's very high in the northern sky during spring and summer and full of pretty bright stars.  The Little Bear is fainter so you might only be able to see a few its stars.  But one of these is the most important star in the sky...