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Star Tower in Estrella at night with Milky Way in background.

09 April . 2020

When You Wish Upon A Star

Did you know that Estrella – the name for our master-planned community in Goodyear, AZ –means “star” in Spanish? From the Starpointe Residents Club to the iconic Star Tower landmark at the entrance to our community, you might say we have a love affair with the night sky. Located some 17 miles from downtown Phoenix, we are just far enough from the bright lights of the city that when you want to wish upon a star, you have a whole host to choose from.

There are five major constellations that can be seen almost all year long in Estrella. Wow your family and friends on your next night under the stars by pointing out these constellations and relating the story behind each one.

Photo Credit: Dominic Ford and In The Sky

Cepheus and Cassiopeia

Our first two constellations – King Cepheus and Queen Cassiopeia of Ethiopia – abide next to one another in the heavens and are the only husband-wife duo in the stars. According to Greek mythology, the gods sent a mighty monster to ravage their country to punish Queen Cassiopeia for her vanity. To appease the monster, Cassiopeia and Cepheus sacrificed their daughter, Andromeda, by chaining her to the rock so the monster could eat her. According to the legend, she is saved at the last-minute by the mighty hero Perseus.

At some points of the year, Cassiopeia is right side up, but at other times, upside down – further evidence of the gods’ disapproval of her vanity.

Draco the Dragon

There are two roots of the name “Draco.” The first is that the constellation looks like a dragon, or large serpent, snaking its way through the sky. The second is based in Greek legend, where Draco represents the dragon Ladon. The serpent was tasked with guarding a tree of golden apples that were sacred to Hera, queen of the gods. Hercules killed the dragon as one
of his labors; his constellation is located next to Draco in the heavens.

Need a little assist in pinpointing the constellations? Check out our Stargazer’s Guide to the Night Sky.

Ursa Major

This constellation goes by many names across the world’s cultures, including the Great Bear, the Plough, and the Great Wagon. It is also the constellation of which the Big Dipper is a part. (Random fact for your next star watching party – Did you know that the Big Dipper is not actually considered a constellation? Like Orion’s Belt and the Southern Cross, the Big Dipper is considered an asterism, or small pattern of stars often found within larger constellations.) It is one of the most recognizable constellations that can be seen from the Estrella community.

Ursa Minor

The brightest star of Ursa Minor is the North Star, also known as Polaris. The constellation has been used for navigation for centuries, steadfastly guiding sailors safely home. There are many myths surrounding the stars in this constellation, but none as definitive as those for the other constellations.

You don’t need to wish on a star or follow a constellation to make it safely to your dream home. Simply tour the Estrella master-planned community, where the amenities, home offerings and small-town feel truly are a wish come true.

Star Tower in Estrella with view of starry night sky.
Image Credit: Abbee Day