The connection between the North Star and astronomy is an ancient one. For as long as people have been studying the stars, they’ve also been keeping track of the North Star. But do you know why?
Another question people often ask is, “Which star is the North Star and why do they call it the North Star?”
Well my friend, today is your lucky day. We’re going to answer those questions for you right now.
Which star is called the North Star, and how can you find it in the night sky?
The North Star is the name or title given to the star that’s most useful for navigating in a northern direction, either by land or by sea. In other words, if it is the middle of the night, and you’re totally lost, and you don’t even have a clue what direction you’re going in ( Let’s hope you’re never in that situation.), you could just look up at the night sky, locate the North Star and know that when you walk toward it, you’re going north.
In order for a star to be called the North Star, you must be able to see it from Earth, and it has to very close to the north celestial pole. Also called a pole star. Right now, Polaris is designated as the North Star. As for finding the North Star, just look for the Little Dipper and look for the star at the end of the handle.
Polaris won’t always be the North Star
Even though Polaris is the North Star right now, it won’t always be the North Star in the future. Over time, say a few thousand years, subtle changes in the Earth’s rotation will cause Polaris to be seen in a different part of the sky.
Don’t worry though, because when that happens, there will be a new North Star! So the connection between the North Star and astronomy is sure to be a lasting one.