Ursa Minor (Little Bear) is a constellation in the northern sky. It is colloquially known as the Little Dipper because its seven brightest stars appear to form the shape of a ladle (diagram pictured). It was one of the 48 constellations listed by the 2nd-century astronomer Ptolemy, and it remains one of the 88 modern constellations. Polaris, its brightest star, is currently less than one degree away from the north celestial pole. Because this position stays nearly fixed as the Earth rotates, the star has traditionally been important for navigation, particularly by mariners. Polaris is a yellow-white supergiant and the brightest Cepheid variable star in the night sky, ranging in apparent magnitude from 1.97 to 2.00. Beta Ursae Minoris, also known as Kochab, is an aging star that has swollen and cooled to become an orange giant with an apparent magnitude of 2.08, only slightly fainter than Polaris. The constellation also contains an isolated neutron star—Calvera—and H1504+65, the hottest white dwarf yet discovered, with a surface temperature of 200,000 degrees Kelvin. Planets have been detected orbiting four of the constellation's stars, including Kochab. (Full article…)January 10A male Scelophysa trimeni feeding on Arctotis decurrens in Port Nolloth, South Africa. This species of scarab beetle is found exclusively in South Africa. Males are covered in minute sky-blue scales while the scales of the females are sienna brown. Both are important pollinators in the region, especially for Mesembryanthemum and some daisy species.Photograph: Julia WWikipedia is hosted by the Wikimedia Foundation, a non-profit organization that also hosts a range of other projects:This Wikipedia is written in English. Started in 2001 (2001), it currently contains 5,051,847 articles.Many other Wikipedias are available; some of the largest are listed below.