If you are wondering, “What is Polaris?”, you’re not alone. It’s a bright star in the constellation Ursa Minor and designated as Ursae Minoris. It’s also known as the North Star or the Pole Star and has an apparent magnitude of 1.98. Even if you’ve never looked at a star in the sky before, you can see it by night with the naked eye.
Although it may look motionless and isn’t easily visible, Polaris serves as an excellent reference point for celestial navigation and astrometry. It has been used for centuries and will likely be used for many more. It is located in the constellation Ursa Minor, also known as the Little Bear or Little Dipper. Despite its simplicity, it is not without controversy. To begin with, it is one of the closest stars in our sky to Earth.
In the year 2000, scientists found the planet’s North Star Polaris to be 4.6 times brighter than it was when Ptolemy first observed it. Interestingly, this was the same year that a team of scientists began monitoring Polaris. They found that after the minimum of 1999, Polaris’ pulsations tended to increase again, but as the stars went further back in time, the amplitude decreased.
The brightest star in the constellation Ursa Minor, Polaris is close to the northern celestial pole. At present, it is the north celestial pole star and will remain so until about 2100, although it will be several degrees away after that. As a triple star, Polaris consists of a bright primary star and two faint companions. Its two distant companions, Polaris Aa and UMi B, will eventually replace Polaris.
If you’ve never seen Polaris, you can use the Little Dipper to help identify it. The North Star is also known as the North Star and occupies a special place in the night sky. The North Celestial Pole is a projection of the earth’s axis. Stars in the northern sky appear to revolve around the NCP. While Polaris is not the brightest star in the sky, it is easy to find from a northern location.
To find Polaris, you need to locate the constellation Ursa Minor and the Little Dipper. Ursa Minor contains the “Little Dipper,” a group of stars. Polaris lies at the end of the handle of the Little Dipper. When you find the Little Dipper, you’ll see that it’s quite faint, but that’s OK – the Little Dipper isn’t very bright.
The Big Dipper contains Dubhe and Merak, two bright stars in the bowl of the Big Dipper. When you draw an imaginary line between the two, it will lead directly to the North Star, Polaris. Pointer stars always point to the North Star. The Little Dipper makes one complete counterclockwise circle around the North Star every 23 hours and 56 minutes. If you’re not sure what Polaris is, a map of the sky will help.