Three Famous Dracos: The Stars

Just for fun, I thought I’d do a few posts about some famous people and things with the name Draco—none of them actual dragons. Now, before I hear that I left out one in particular, I’m going to start off by saying the J.K. Rowling character Draco Malfoy didn’t make the cut, since he’s so famous that there’s not much I can add. Also, though I do enjoy the Harry Potter series, I’m not a huge fanatic, so I’m sure there are others whose commentary would be of much higher quality.

So, instead, we’ll start with the stars. What I didn’t know until I started researching is that, aside from being a constellation, Draco is also a dwarf spheroidal galaxy. It is located (surprise, surprise!) in the Draco constellation. Sadly, I can’t get a good picture of the galaxy, though you can find lots of info about it here.

There are, apparently, tons of different myths about the constellation. I’ll just talk about the ones I know. It always involves the death of a giant serpent. Sometimes it bears resemblance to dragons as we think of them today, but it’s best to think of it more like the dragons of Eastern storytelling.

Anyway, in one story, the serpent is killed by the goddess Minerva after a 10-year-long battle against the gods and tossed into the heavens. My favorite is a little longer. In what is probably the most well-known Draco myth, Hercules battles the serpent who guards the golden apples in order to complete one of his 12 labors. In the end, of course, he kills the snake and is able to get the apples (in an alternate version of the myth the serpent lives).

If you ever look at a map of the constellations, you will see something interesting that links that myth to the constellations. Draco is situated next to the constellation of Hercules! If that’s not a bit funny, I don’t know what is.

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