What Can Polaris Be Used For?

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If you’ve ever wondered what Polaris is, then you’re in luck. The star lies at the end of the handle of the Little Dipper and is 434 light years and 133 parsecs from Earth. Known by many other names, including Polaris, the North Star, the Pole Star, the Lodestar, and the Guiding Light, Polaris is one of the most important stars for navigation. Its name, Cynosura, is derived from the Greek word meaning “dog’s tail”. The star Ursa Minor was interpreted to be a dog during ancient Greek times.

The variable star Polaris was first discovered by Danish astronomer Ejnar Hertzsprung in 1911. He used parallax to calculate the distance to several variable stars in the Magellanic Clouds. The discovery of the period-luminosity relationship in 1908 helped Hertzsprung determine Polaris’ distance to the other stars. The star Polaris is 2.5 times brighter today than it was when the Greek astronomer Ptolemy first observed it.

During the daytime, Polaris rarely moves. Seeing it through a telescope early in the morning is the best time to observe the star, and it will remain in the field of view even after sunrise. However, the star is so bright that many ground-based telescopes find it difficult to point at it. Some telescopes cannot even point to Polaris within a few degrees of the north celestial pole.

While Polaris has been the pole star for thousands of years, the polar position of the star has been constantly shifting. Because of precession, Earth’s axis is continually drifting, so Polaris will be on different poles in different time periods. Until about 12,000 years from now, Thuban in Draco will be the closest star to the pole. And when this happens again, bright Vega will become the pole star.

The North Star will continue to be the most prominent star for centuries to come. Polaris will be most closely aligned with the north celestial pole on March 24, 2100. The north celestial pole is the point in the sky directly above the North rotational axis of the Earth. At that time, Polaris will be a mere 27 arc-seconds away from the North Pole. However, it will remain a long time until it is closest to the pole, which is why Polaris will remain the most prominent star in the sky for many centuries.

The main component of Polaris is an evolved yellow supergiant star. The star, Alpha Ursae Minoris Aa, is 4.5 times larger than the Sun and 2,500 times brighter. It has a radius 46 times that of the Sun. Its brightness is so great that it has been classified as a Cepheid variable and can pulsate at a frequency of four days.

There are also various uses for the star. Its variability allows astronomers to determine distances to galaxy clusters and star clusters. HIPPARCOS, the spacecraft that tracked Polaris, has been used to measure the distance to the star. And, as a Cepheid variable star, it is also used to measure the expansion rate of the universe. The star’s revolving brightness can be attributed to a change in the temperature.

The star’s position can be determined by the angle it forms between the northern horizon and Polaris. This tool was used heavily by ancient travelers to navigate across the Atlantic and find their way home. Using this star is very convenient for navigation and is the reason why it is so widely used today. Its position makes it a valuable tool for navigating in unfamiliar places. The star is also known as the North Star.

Though the North Star is the brightest star in the sky, many people are unaware of the fact that there are several other bright stars. The fifth brightest star in the sky, Vega, is actually closer to the northern horizon than Polaris is. Vega is so close to the pole that the precession of the equinoxes brings it to within four degrees of the celestial pole in about a thousand years.

The constellation Ursa Major contains Polaris and the other stars that make up the Little Dipper. However, the stars in the Little Dipper are often not visible from urban areas. For a better view of the constellation, you can look toward the Big Dipper, which is much larger and brighter. During the day, you can find the stars of the Big Dipper by following the Big Dipper’s seven stars. By using this technique, you can easily locate Polaris.

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