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The Saptarshi (सप्तर्षि saptarṣi a Sanskrit dvigu meaning "seven sages") are the seven rishis who are extolled at many places in the Vedas and Hindu literature. The Vedic Samhitas never actually enumerate these rishis by name, though later Vedic texts such as the Brahmanas and Upanisads do so. They are regarded in the Vedas as the patriarchs of the Vedic religion.

The Big Dipper asterism is also called 'Saptarshi' or 'Sapta Rishi' in Hindu astronomy.
The Big Dipper is an asterism of seven stars that has been recognized as a distinct grouping in many cultures from time immemorial. The comprising stars are the seven brightest of the formal constellation Ursa Major.

Ursa Major is a constellation visible throughout the year in most of the northern hemisphere. Its name means the Great Bear in Latin. It is dominated by the widely recognized asterism known as the Big Dipper, which is a useful pointer toward north, and which has mythological significance in numerous world cultures.
The constellation of Ursa Major has been seen as a bear by many distinct civilizations
Ursa Major is also known as 'Saptarshi mandal' in India

source: excerpts from wiki for the respective terms.
In astronomy, an asterism is a pattern of stars seen in Earth's sky which is not an official constellation. Like constellations, they are composed of stars which, while they are in the same general direction, are not physically related, often being at significantly different distances from Earth. An asterism may be composed of stars from one or more constellations.

Undoubtedly, the best-known asterism is the 'Big Dipper' aka 'Saptarshi' aka 'the Great Bear'. Composed of the seven brightest stars in Ursa Major, where they delineate the Bear's hindquarters and exaggerated tail, the Dipper is often the first grouping of stars shown to beginners in the Northern Hemisphere.
by BIKeINSTEIN February 04, 2010
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