If you’ve ever wondered what is Polaris, you’re not alone. This constellation has been helping travellers in the northern hemisphere for thousands of years. To find it, draw a line between the stars in the pan part of the Dipper. The star is also known as Cynosura, which comes from Greek and means “dog tail.” Ancient Greeks believed the constellation to represent a dog. The star makes a small circle around the pole as Earth rotates.
In addition to being the north star, Polaris is also the outermost part of the Little Dipper’s handle. A star of similar brightness, Polaris is the most frequently-referred to constellation in the northern hemisphere. In fact, Polaris has a long history, dating back to the Polynesian culture, when voyagers used traditional Polynesian wayfinding to cross the Pacific Ocean. But why is it so important?
The answer to the question, “What is Polaris?” is found in the fact that the star is close to Earth’s north celestial pole. In the night sky, Polaris appears to move slowly and is relatively stationary compared to other stars. In the same way, the other visible stars trace larger circles around Polaris. So, you might find it helpful to know the difference between them and learn about them. However, in reality, they are similar and you should not confuse them.
Once you know the difference between Polaris and the North Star, you can use the Polaris constellation to help you navigate through the night sky. Just as the stars of the Big Dipper rotate around the North Star, the Star of Polaris is at the end of the Big Dipper’s handle. The Little Dipper’s handle is also a good way to find Polaris. You can then follow the path through the constellation to find the stars and find them by pointing to them.
To understand the difference between Polaris and the North Star, consider its location. If the star is close to the celestial North Pole, you’re closer to it. If the star is far away, it may not be visible to you. Fortunately, the North Star can help you navigate safely. The star is 4,000 times brighter than the sun. But, it isn’t always so easy to find! If you’re traveling by land, make sure you know the difference between Polaris and the North Star.
While Polaris has been around for thousands of years, it’s become a much more unpredictable object in recent years. It used to fluctuate by about 10%, but that number has now decreased to less than 0.05. The brightness of Polaris fluctuates unpredictably ever since, but remains relatively near to the same level as before. The star’s brightness may also be pulsating. This is an indication of a binary star.
Though not particularly bright, Polaris is visible to the unaided eye. It’s also the only star in the night sky that isn’t moving against the Earth’s rotation. Because of this, it appears rather dim when viewed from Earth. In fact, Polaris is actually a triple star system, with two yellow supergiants Polaris Aa and Polaris B. It is the closest star to Earth after the sun.
Because the Earth’s spin axis undergoes a motion called precession, it doesn’t always line up with the North Pole. Because of this, Polaris isn’t always pointing north. In fact, it may not be visible at all if you’re south of the equator. So, you’ll have to make some calculations based on the distance of Polaris from the horizon.
The star is 0.7 degrees away from the pole, but it used to be nearer to the Earth’s celestial pole during the Late Antiquity. Its position now lies roughly at 27°09″ from the pole, which is less than the angular diameter of the moon. In the past, however, it didn’t always resemble the North Star, and its distance from the pole was closer to Beta Ursae Minoris in 2500 BC. However, this will change again by around 1440 when the brighter star, Vega, will pass directly over it.