Astronomy Minute: Finding Polaris


Of course, all cell phones have a built-in compass so you can find which direction is north whenever you want. But there is something very gratifying about being able to go “old school”. All you have to do is find the Big Dipper. 

The Big Dipper rotates around Polaris every day, but the two stars at the front of the bowl always point to Polaris. The farther north you go, the higher Polaris is in the sky. It will be directly overhead at the North Pole.

However, be careful about relying on this star if you go south. Polaris gets closer and closer to the horizon and will disappear as you get to the equator.  Keep your cell phone handy.