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How did the constellation Draco get its name?

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Quick Answer

Draco is derived from a Greek word meaning dragon; early astronomers observed that its shape resembled a dragon. This constellation is the eighth largest in the sky. Draco contains mostly dim stars arranged in a serpentine pattern running between the constellations Ursa Major and Ursa Minor.

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Full Answer

In Greek mythology, Draco is sometimes identified as the dragon that guarded the Golden Fleece in the tale of Jason and the Argonauts. In other stories, Draco is the dragon that guards the Golden Apples of the Hesperides sought by Hercules. In yet other legends, the goddess Athena fought a dragon during the war between the Olympian gods and the Titans. She grabbed the dragon by its tail and hurled it into the sky where it remained, twisted around the north celestial pole.

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