"The Truth about the North Star and How to Find it"

Scheduled air date: 1999 Apr 26-May 02

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Click on the above image to see an animated QuickTime® presentation! (1.39 MB)
You can use the two Pointer Stars in the cup of the Big Dipper asterism to point your way to Polaris—commonly known as the North Star.  While Polaris is far from the brightest star in the sky, it is important as it happens to be very close to the Earth's North Celestial Pole.  Because of this, as the Earth rotates, the rest of the stars appear to move in a circle about Polaris, which itself appears stationary all night, and all year, long.
(The above illustration shows Polaris above the Northern horizon for a mid-Northern latitude at about 10:00pm during early May.  The gray region near the horizon is our Milky Way Galaxy.)

If you wish to view illustrations for other episodes, please see our Star Gazer Illustrated directory.

Illustrations on this page were created using TheSky Astronomy Software, an advanced desktop planetarium program designed for Windows.

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