How to identify the pole star in your place?

  1. Rubanraj profile image72
    Rubanrajposted 6 years ago

    How to identify the pole star in your place?

  2. Jlbowden profile image92
    Jlbowdenposted 6 years ago


    When you mention the Pole Star, I believe you are also referring to Polaris? If so you will have to first find the big dipper, or URSA MAJOR. It is also called the Big or Great Bear. Taking the two end stars of the big dipper you would draw an imaginary line outward and away from those two stars and will come to a star that is a little dimmer and less distinguishable than the stars that make up the big dipper. This star is Polaris, or true north and is the last or end star of the little dipper constellation. If you follow the North Star, or Polaris in a downward fashion, you will end up locating its cup or dipper. The little dipper is usually upside down, or opposite to that of Ursa Major's dipper or pot.  Also remember that you will have to know whether or not, you are in the Northern or Southern hemisphere for example. Because each of these two constellations, can be located in different areas of the sky and/or hemisphere during certain times of the year.  Hope this helps answer your question

  3. lone77star profile image84
    lone77starposted 6 years ago

    I currently live in the Philippines and Jlbowden's description applies equally well, here. Of course, in Australia and other places south of the equator you cannot see Polaris.

    The only thing I would add to Jlbowden's description is that you would mark out a distance of 5x the space between the two "Big Dipper" stars (Ursa Major) "above" the dipper's cup.

    Polaris is not exactly true North, but remains for the next few hundred years, the closest bright star to that position. Approximately 13,000 years ago, because of axial precession, Vega was the "pole star" -- far brighter than Polaris, but nearly 4 degrees from the pole position at its closest.

    And for long stretches of time, Earth did not have a pole star, because the polar axis pointed to a relatively blank area between bright stars. Polaris's closest position to true North will happen about a century in the future, after which precession will carry the pole position farther from Polaris.

    When Columbus crossed the Atlantic, Polaris had not been the "pole" star of the North for very long (~400 years) and was not as good a match as it is today.

    The South Pole does not have anything like Polaris that could be called a "pole star." Sigma Octantis is the closest "bright star" to the southern polar axis, but it's over a full degree from that position and shines at an apparent magnitude of only 5.6 -- barely naked-eye visible.