How to find the North Star

Of course, at stars everyone can see who has come out at home to walk on a clear night. But how do you know what you see? And how can I orient myself? One of the most famous ways to learn at least a little guidance in the night sky (if you live in the Northern Hemisphere) is how to find the North Star, which almost does not move. And with the help of this landmark you can already try to find something else. And if you are in the Southern Hemisphere, you need to find the Alpha and Beta Centauri stars that point to the constellation Southern Cross.

One of the most famous ways to learn at least a little guidance in the night sky (if you live in the Northern Hemisphere) is how to find the North Star

Currently, the Polaris is less than 10 from the North Pole of the world, and therefore almost motionless with the daily rotation of the star sky. It is very convenient for orientation: the direction to it almost coincides with the direction to the north, and the height above the horizon is equal to the geographical latitude of the observation site. Because of the precession of the earth's axis, the position of the North Pole of the world is changing; the closest the Polar Star approaches it is about 2100 years - at a distance of about 30'.

In 1990, the European spacecraft Hipparcos estimated the distance to the North Pole in 434 light years. In 2006, an estimate of 330 s. years, and in 2008 - in 359 sv. years. The 2012 high-resolution measurements carried out by the astronomers team the leadership of David Turner of the Canadian University of St. Mary, give an estimate of the distance to the North Star in 323 light years. The distance to the polar star is used to estimate distances to other galaxies. Clarification of this distance can lead to a refinement of the distance scale, and to limiting the mass value dark matter.

Find the Polar Star easily with the help of a "bucket" from the constellation Ursa Major. The bucket is one of the most famous and recognizable stellar configurations. The two brightest stars, Dipper, Dubcha and Merak (they are also called "signposts"), form one side of the "bucket" (bowl) and point directly at the North Star. With the help of these "signs" you can also find the stars Castor and Pollux from the constellation Gemini and Deneb from the constellation Cygnus. A "bucket handle" points to Arcturus from the constellation Bootes. Stars that are close and surround the North Star never go beyond the horizon (in the greater Northern Hemisphere); they are called circumpolar stars. They seem to move around the North Star. The Big Dipper is a circumpolar constellation; so it is seen almost throughout the Northern Hemisphere. The size of the near-polar region of the sky depends on the latitude at which observation is carried out. The closer you live to the North Pole, the greater part of the sky will be circumpolar. Similarly, in the Southern Hemisphere, the more south you are, the greater part will be circumpolar.

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