Did You know? the North Star

December 23, 2019

DID YOU KNOW

This month . . . The North Star

 

The North Star or Pole Star is located close to the north celestial pole, the point around which the entire northern sky revolves. It is almost straight above Earth's north pole and when seen from Earth it appears to always stay in the same place in the sky. The image below was constructed by Jim Thomas (wiki commons).

 

 

The North Star changes due to the slow wobble of the Earth known as Precession. Currently the North Star is Polaris. It became the North Star around AD 500 and will move closer to straight above the Earth's north pole until sometime in AD 2102, then it will move away again. It will be the closest star to the North Pole until about AD 3000 when Gamma Cephei, in the constellation of Cepheus, will become the next North Star.

 

As the North Star always points north it can be used in navigation to determine latitude.

 

There is no South Star that works in the same way as the North Star however the Southern Cross constellation points to the direction of the South Celestial Pole.

 

The expression “Follow your North Star” means to stick to your important mission in life and try to accomplish it.

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