How To Find The North Star
The North Star is also known as
I'm Robert Massey and I'm here from the Royal Astronomical Society which is one of the biggest astronomical organizations in the world and we look after the interests of astronomers not just in the UK but across the world. What I'm going to do today is give you a few pointers to get you started in astronomy which I think is one of the most incredibly interesting subjects there is. If you want to find your way around the night sky, if you're just doing it as an amateur astronomer just wanting to enjoy the night sky perhaps for the first time, it's really important to know where some of the stars in the sky are and to identify the patterns they appear to make, what we call the constellations. One of the most important stars to find, it actually tells you directions as well, is the North Star or Pole Star or Polaris. And for the northern hemisphere, it's really quite straightforward to find. You just need one really good trick. A clear night, first of all, is a big plus so you can actually see the stars but of you look for the constellation of the Plough or in the North America, the Big Dipper, just his group of stars here, these seven stars here are very recognizable to many people. You know, chances are you've already seen them at some point in your life and you look for this bowl shape and this handle here, and the two stars on the right-hand edge of the bowl of my picture, a Dubhe and Merak, if you follow the line up from these two or down depending on the time of year, track it up about 5 or 6 times the distance between them, you'd come to the Pole Star or Polaris. And the great thing is once you found the Pole Star, if you go out in your backyard no matter what the time of year, what the time of night, it's always more or less in the same place in the sky because it's directly above the North Pole of the Earth. So, the rest of the sky turns as if it appears to turn as the Earth turns, the Pole Star stays where it is. .