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Draco - the Dragon


Mythology - The Babylonians considered this to be the female monster Tiamat (chaos), defeated by Marduk when he cut her in two following an epic battle that describes the creation of earth. One half became the constellation of the dragon and the other became the Hydra. At the time of the Egyptian IVth Dynasty, Thuban was the Pole star and part of a heavenly crocodile. The Greeks saw Draco as the representation of the dragon Ladon that Hera set to guard the golden apples of the Hesperides. When Heracles persuaded Atlas to pick them (his brothers were the gardeners), he gave the dragon a sleeping draught. When Hera found out about the theft she swore the dragon would never go to sleep on the job again, and it is true, Draco never sets!
Stars - Thuban (alpha draconis) was closer to the North Celestial Pole in 2830 BC than Polaris is now, but due to the slow wandering of the Earth's axis (precession) it is now some 25 degrees away.
Deepsky - One of the brightest planetary nebulæ of its kind lies in Draco - NGC 6543. It appears as a vivid blue disk in modest telescopes and is nicknamed the Cat Eye nebula.
Visibility - Although visible all year, the best time to see Draco high overhead is in the Summer months.