Universe Guide

Ursa Minor, The Small Bear Constellation

Ursa Minor Constellation Star Map

Ursa Minor (Pronounciation:Ur-sar Mine-nore, Abbrev:UMi, Latin:Ursae Minoris) is a constellation, one of 88 constellations that the night sky is divided into. The sky is not divided up equally between the constellations. Ursa Minor takes up 255.864 sq. degrees of the night sky which equates to 0.62% of the night sky. Ursa Minor is the 56th largest in terms of size in the night sky.

The constellation name means The Small Bear . The constellation is one of the original constellations that was devised by the Ancient Greco-Egyptian astronomer Ptolemy who lived between 90 A.D. and 168 A.D.

There are 7 stars that make up the main constellation. The hipparcos satellite scanned and detailed 604 stars. There are 25 stars that can be seen with the naked eye in the constellation on a very clear night sky.

Ursa Minor is not a member of the Zodiac group of twelve constellations that appear when the Sun sets. Ursa Minor is a northern hemispheric constellation which means it can't be seen easily or at all from the southern hemisphere.

There are 5 Extrasolar Planets (Exoplanets) in this constellation that are detailed on this site. There is a dedicated page for exoplanets in Ursa Minor.

There are no deep space objects that were identified by Charles Messier in this constellation. There are no non-Messier deep space objects in this constellation that are covered at present on this site.

The image at the top right of this page was generated using Night Vision, a free to use and download application by Brian Simspon.

Distance to Ursa Minor

You can't just go to one location and arrive at the constellation because the constellation is made up of stars at different locations and different distances. The nearest main star in the constellation is at a distance of 96.99 light years and the furthest main star is a distance of 486.81 light years. The average distance to the main stars is 284.62 light years.

Ursa Minor Star Facts

The caveat of these stars are that they are catalogued on this site. If you know of a star that is nearer or further then do let me know in the comments and I'll add it to the site. The stars mentioned are from the Hipparcos catalogue or have been added because of their special status.

HIP 71898, Ursa Minor's Nearest Star

The nearest star to Earth is HIP 71898 which is roughly about 35.01 Light Years from the Earth. The nearest star to the Earth with an exoplanet is HD 150706 which is about 92.06 Light Years.

HIP 64708, Ursa Minor's Furthest Star

The furthest star that is located in the constellation is HIP 64708 and it is 326163.3 light years away from the Sun. The furthest figure is derived from either the 1997 or 2007 Hipparcos star catalogue parallax figure and it has been known to produce distances that are wrong.

HD 152303, Ursa Minor's Dimmest Visible Star

The dimmest star that can be seen in Ursa Minor with the naked eye is HD 152303. The dim star has an apparent magnitude of 5.99. The dimmest star that a person is able to see with their naked eye is 6.0 magnitude based on the table in the reference. Ref: University of Michigan.

Polaris, the Pole Star

The most interesting star in this constellation is Polaris, the Pole Star. It is directly above the North Pole, however it won't always be the case. As the solar system orbits the Galactic Centre, Polaris will move out of place. The equivalent to this in the southern hemisphere is Polaris Australis which is the nearest star to the South Pole but not exact. Of years gone by, sailors used to navigate using the Pole Star as a guide.

How to Find and View Ursa Minor in the Night Sky

Ursa Minor is one of four constellations that can be seen all the year round in the Northern Hemisphere. There is no best or worst time for it. The only thing that could affect your viewing is light and exactly where you are in the Northern Hemisphere. Because of the Pole Star and being visible all year round, it was used by navigators in centuries long ago.

Ursa Minor Mythology

Zeus had a son (Arcas) with Callisto, a mortal. In a fit of rage, Hera turned Callisto into a bear Ursa Major. When Arcas nearly killed his mother as he didn't know who she was, Zeus turned Arcas into a bear Ursa Minor and sent them to the stars.

Meteor Showers Radiating from Ursa Minor

There are 3 Meteor Showers that occur during the year within this constellation based on information gathered from Adam Mickiewicz University (Poland). The list below are major ones and which I have a date period for.

NameActivityPeak ActivityClosest Star
UrsidsDecember 17-25Dec. 22Kochab

List of Main Stars in Ursa Minor

The following list contains the stars that make up the constellation. For a larger list of stars in the entire constellation area, please visit the For a list of named stars, that is stars that don't start HD or HIP, please visit Ursa Minor Star List page.

NameBayerDistance (Lt.Yr.)Right AscensionDeclinationSpectral TypeColour
PolarisAlpha Ursae Minoris432.5802h 31m 47.08+89d 15` 50.9F7:Ib-IIv SBYellow/White
KochabBeta Ursae Minoris130.9414h 50m 42.40+74d 09` 19.7K4IIIvarOrange
PherkadGamma Ursae Minoris486.8115h 20m 43.75+71d 50` 02.3A3II-IIIWhite
YildunDelta Ursae Minoris172.1217h 32m 12.90+86d 35` 10.8A1VnWhite
Epsilon Ursae MinorisEpsilon Ursae Minoris303.9716h 45m 58.16+82d 02` 14.1G5IIIvarYellow
Akhfa al FarkadainZeta Ursae Minoris368.9615h 44m 03.46+77d 47` 40.2A3VnWhite
Anwar Al FarkadainEta Ursae Minoris96.9916h 17m 30.50+75d 45` 16.9F5VYellow/White

Ursa Minor Facts

NameUrsa Minor
Is a Zodiac Sign No
Brightest StarPolaris
Area255.864 sq. deg.
Percentage of Night Sky0.62%
Size Position56th
Hemisphere Northern
Site Exoplanet Count5
Meteor Shower Count3
Nearest StarHIP 71898
Nearest Star with Exoplanet(s)HD 150706
Brightest StarPolaris
Dimmest StarHD 152303
Furthest StarHIP 64708
Bright Star Count25
Hipparcos Star Count604
Main Star Count7
Messier Deep Space Object Count0
Bordering / Neighbouring / Surrounding ConstellationsCepheus

*Note: The number of Non-Messier Deep Space Object Count relates to how many are covered on this site not how many there are.

List of Deep Space Objects (Galaxies, Nebulas, Supernovas, etc) in Ursa Minor

NameTypeDistanceDeclinationRight Ascension
NGC 5832Barred Spiral Galaxy+71 40 53.514 57 45m 90
NGC 6091Galaxy+69 54 17.5616 07 52m 976
NGC 6094Galaxy+72 29 39.8416 06 33m 922
NGC 6217Barred Spiral Galaxy67,200,00078:11:5316h 32h 39
NGC 6251Seyfert Galaxy+82 32 16.399954016 32 31m 96990024
Polarissima BorealisGalaxy+89 05 35.7711 47 11m 928

Comments and Questions

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july2019AstronomyThursday, 6th June 2019 3:45:01 PM
have a great little bear weekend, summer solstice, enroute to Monday 06/10
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