The Dragon

Abbreviation: Dra
Genitive: Draconis

The constellation of Draco

It is difficult to say which Greek myth inspired the constellation's name. The dragon may be the deadly monster Typhon. Or it may represent Ladon, the dragon who guarded the golden apples in the Garden of the Hesperides. He was slain by Heracles when the Greek hero was sent to steal the golden apples as part of his 'Twelve Labours'.

Notable Features

Designation Name Description
Draconids The slow, faint, yellow meteors in this October shower are the remnants of the comet 21P/Giacobini-Zinner, and the shower seems to occur only when the parent comet is close to perihelion. The radiant is well-placed for northern observers, being in the 'lozenge'-shaped head of the dragon.
α Dra Thuban This was the northern polar star during the construction of the Great Pyramids of Egypt and because of the effects of axial precession, it will once again take pride of place in about AD 21000!
β Dra Rastaban
γ Dra Eltanin
δ Dra Altais
ι Dra Edasich This star has at least one exoplanet.
λ Dra Giausar The name of the star is not officially recognised by the IAU.
μ Dra Alrakis The name of the star is not officially recognised by the IAU.
ξ Dra Grumium
42 Dra Fafnir Like Edasich, an exoplanet has been detected around this star.
Gliese 725 A, Gliese 725 B The two components of this star are just under 12 light years away from the Sun, making them some of the closest stars to us. This binary system is found near the star ο Dra on the sky map.
C3 Optical aids are required to see this barred spiral galaxy.
C6 Cat's Eye Nebula This is a planetary nebula, only visible through a telescope. It was the first planetary nebula to be observed with a spectroscope and the emission lines that were detected in its spectrum settled the argument as to whether these objects were nebulous or stellar in nature.