Sailors and also travelers have used Polaris, also known together the North Star, because that centuries to find their position on the surface ar of the Earth. Polaris is the brightest star in the constellationUrsa Minor, whose seven brightest stars kind the small Dipper. Polaris is the brightest star at the end of the tail of the tiny Dipper and is useful since it is the just starthat does not appearto move in relationship to a certain location on Earth. Polaris cannot be watched from southern of the equator.

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The altitude of a star is the measure in levels of the angle of the star above the horizon. Level out ~ above the horizon is 0° and straight increase in the sky is at 90°, which has actually a distinct name, the zenith.

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### Materials

Drafting compass with level measurementsClear, starry night

### Procedure

Go exterior on a dark, clear, starry night.Locate Polaris. That is the critical star in the tail the the tiny Dipper.Hold the compass the end in former of you.Align the 0° edge of the compass v the horizon.Keeping the 0° sheet flat versus the horizon, elevator one eight of the compass till it points straight at Polaris.Read off the angle. This is the altitude that Polaris from your location on Earth. This corresponds to your latitude.What would certainly be the altitude of Polaris if you to be standing at the north Pole? What would be the altitude the Polaris if you to be standing at the Equator?

### Results

Use a map or the internet to determine the latitude of your hometown and see if her measurement is correct.

### Why?

Polaris is so far away (about 434 lightyears)that the light ray of light approach the planet in a parallel manner. This permits us to look at the angle in between us and the star (which is the very same as the angle between the horizon and the star) to situate our latitude top top the Earth. Polaris is about 0.7° native the exact North Pole, so through the rotation the the earth it makes its very own tiny one in the sky at night together well, but it is the only star that appears fixed in the sky to us.

Polaris is additionally a multiple star, i m sorry is why that is so bright. It is composed of alpha-Polaris, the main, brightest star, and also two small stars an extremely close come it, so to the naked eye they appear as one star.

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Earth move in a motion called precession. This way our axis shifts in a circle over the span of around 26,000 years. This means Polaris hasn't always beenabove our phibìc Pole together it isright now. In old Egyptian times, the phibìc Star was Thuban, indigenous the constellation Draco, and also in about 12,000 years, it will be Vega, from the Lyra constellation, i beg your pardon will appear to be an even brighter beacon than Polaris.