Draco Constellation: Serpent of the Sky
The Cat’s Eye Nebula CREDIT: NASA
Draco’s stars are not very bright, but five of them have known planets. The head of the dragon consists of four stars (Beta, Gamma, Nu, and Xi Draconis) in a trapezoid and located just north of Hercules. From there, the dragon’s body winds its way through the sky, ending between the Big Dipper and Little Dipper. From early to mid-October, shooting stars known as the Draconids appear to radiate from Draco’s head.
The star Kepler-10 is orbited by Kepler-10b, the smallest rocky Earth-sized planet detected outside of the solar system.
Other stars in the constellation include Thuban (α Draconis), which forms the tail. Because the Earth wobbles on its axis (called precession), Thuban was the pole star around 2600 B.C. when the ancient Egyptians were building the pyramids.
Draco consists of several double stars, including Eta (η) Draconis and 20 Draconis.
The Cat’s Eye Nebula is also contained within the constellation.