Does the North Star Ever Move?

Sky wheeling around Polaris, the North Star.

The first conceptual objective, I can explain how astronomical objects (sun, planets, stars) appear to move in the sky, has been discussed frequently in class. In class we discussed that astronomical appear to move in the sky, but in fact, they are positioned. This illusion is caused by Earth’s rotation. The article I chose, “Does the North Star Ever Move?”, closely relates to the conceptual objective 1. Unlike every other star in the sky, the North Star, Polaris, appear to stay fixed in our sky. The time lapse photo shown above of the North Star and its surrounding stars would suggest that Polaris appears to slightly move. This is due to the rotation of Earth. Because the North Star is directly above the northern axis, it does not rise or set. In class, we also talked about certain stars that do not rise or set in the sky, these stars are called circumpolar stars. This article caught me by surprise. Even though the stars are fixed, Earth’s rotation appears to make them move. I was under the assumption that even with Earth’s rotation, the North Star has always stayed in the same location. This article suggests that the North Star, in fact, makes its own little movement around the sky’s north pole. Therefore, this article taught me something I was not aware of previously.

Christopher Stricker






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