Stars aren’t still–they move through space. Our Sun and the seven stars that form the Big Dipper in the constellation Ursa Major all orbit the center of the Milky Way at different speeds. So why do today’s constellations closely resemble those depicted by ancient astronomers?

Observe the Big Dipper through time and space to see how its independent stars can form shapes that have looked similar from our terrestrial vantage point 32,000 years ago, today, and 50,000 years in the future: The Big Dipper Through Time from The American Museum of Natural History.

Plus: There’s a long-hidden star in the Big Dipper’s handle: Alcor B.

Next, watch Laniakea, our home supercluster, What is a constellation? and How Many Stars Are There?

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