Ursa Major, also known as the Great Bear, is a constellation in the northern sky. Its Latin name means "greater (or larger) she-bear," referring to and contrasting it with nearby Ursa Minor, the lesser bear. In antiquity, it was one of the original 48 constellations listed by Ptolemy in the 2nd century AD. Today it is the third largest of the 88 modern constellations.
The mythology of the constellation dates back into prehistory, but several cultures saw a bear when they gazed at the stars including the Romans, Northern Europeans, and Native Americans. In Roman mythology, a nymph named Callisto was turned into a bear by the jealous queen of the gods, Juno, so she would be unattractive to Juno's husband and king of the gods, Jupiter. Later, Callisto's son Arcas encountered her in bear form while out hunting. He avoids shooting her, and Jupiter averts further risk of tragedy by placing them both in the sky as Ursa Major and Ursa Minor.
Despite being designated alpha, ⍺ Ursae Majoris (formally named Dubhe) is the second brightest object in Ursa Major. It is located approximately 123 light years from our sun.