You Spin Me Right Round

Star Trails with Polaris, the North Star centered.  Another happy accident. It was my first attempt at star trails, made with my Canon G16. I had taken it out in the front yard, which faces north, and let it loose. When I checked the image out, I was floored to see that I had centered Polaris.

For those who don’t know, Polaris is not a very bright star.  It is the 46th brightest star in the entire night sky! During outreach programs, I always ask about Polaris, and most of the time I hear comments about it being the brightest star in the sky.  Polaris, (Alpha Ursae Minoris) also called  the North Star or Pole Star, is the brightest star in the constellation of Ursa Minor. The constellation is also known by its asterism, the “Little Dipper”.  It is very close to the north celestial pole, making it the current northern “Pole Star”.  Polaris is part of a triple star system. Polaris A, Polaris B and Polaris Ab.

To locate Polaris, all you have to do is to find the Big Dipper pointer stars Dubhe and Merak. These two stars outline the outer part of the Big Dipper’s bowl. Simply draw a line from Merak through Dubhe, and go about 5 times the Merak/Dubhe distance to Polaris.

Photo courtesy of Saint John Astronomy Club

Saint Johns Astronomy Club website has a wonderful article on Star hopping,