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α Draconis

Alpha Draconis is Thuban (the Arabic name for the constellation).

Thuban was the Pole Star around 2700 - 2800 BC, which has excited some Egyptologists into conjecturing about its possible association with the Great Pyramid of Khufu. It's all very intriguing.

Thuban is near the end of the dragon's tail. You can quickly find the star by drawing a line from the tip of the handle of the Big Dipper (eta UMa) to beta UMi: finding Thuban.

The star is fairly isolated: binoculars.

While you're here, you can find the end of the dragon's tail. Kappa is located in the same manner (midpoint of a line from alpha UMa to beta UMi). Lambda, in the same field as kappa, is the tip of the tail: binoculars.

The opposite end -- the dragon's head -- is found by starting at Vega (alpha Lyrae) and moving a third of the distance to the bowl of the little dipper or three binocular fields toward the north pole. Visit gamma Draconis (γ Dra) to view this asterism.

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1999-2014 by Richard Dibon-Smith.