Draco (Dra, dragon) is a constellation in the far northern sky. Its name is Latin for dragon. Draco is circumpolar (that is, never setting) for many observers in the northern hemisphere. It was one of the 48 constellations listed by the 2nd century astronomer Ptolemy, and remains one of the 88 modern constellations today. The north pole of the ecliptic is in Draco. Draco can be seen all year.

Dragons in Greek mythology that may have inspired the constellation's name include Ladon, the dragon who guarded the golden apples of the Hesperides. Hercules killed Ladon during his 12 labors; he was tasked with stealing the golden apples. The constellation of Hercules is depicted near Draco.

In Greco- Roman legend, Draco was a dragon killed by the goddess Minerva (was the Roman goddess of wisdom and sponsor of arts, trade, and strategy) and tossed into the sky upon his defeat. The dragon was one of the Gigantes, who battled the Olympic gods for ten years. As Minerva threw the dragon, it became twisted on itself and froze at the cold North Celestial Pole before it could right itself.

Sometimes, Draco is represented as the demon son of Gaia, Typhon.

Traditional Arabic astronomy does not depict a dragon in modern-day Draco, which is called the Mother Camels. Instead, two hyenas, represented by Eta Draconis (η Dra, η Draconis) and Zeta Draconis (ζ Dra, ζ Draconis) are seen attacking a baby camel (a dim star near Beta Draconis), which is protected by four female camels, represented by Beta Draconis, Gamma Draconis, Nu Draconis, and Xi Draconis. The nomads who own the camels are camped nearby, represented by a cooking tripod composed of Upsilon, Tau, and Sigma Draconis. In some mythology, Draco the dragon constellation had one- hundred magnificent heads, and gourded the golden apple tree, and put in the sky as a constellation for his bravery at protecting the apples. There are more myths than that, but that is one of the most common ones.


Bordering constellations
Boötes | Hercules | Lyra | Cygnus | Cepheus | Ursa Minor | Camelopardalis | Ursa Major


Lists of stars by constellation
WallHapp Catalogue (WH)

WallHapp Catalogue (WH)