Q:

What is the meaning of the Northern Star?

A:

The Northern Star is an eternal reassurance for travelers heading north, a constant bright source on their journeys. The star is actually called the Polaris star, but is most known as the Northern Star, which is its affectionate nickname.

The Northern Star is positioned in the night sky at almost the exact spot for the Earth's geographic north pole. An imaginary line that ran through the Northern Star would run through the Earth from the North Pole to the South Pole with almost absolute accuracy. Sailors use the Northern Star to help them navigate the ocean throughout the northern hemisphere.

In the early 20th century, researchers found that the Northern Star was actually a member of the Cepheid variables pulsating class. This meant that the star would pulse in its brightness going from a super bright light to a less bright light, however, the Northern Star has very small pulses so they are less visible to the naked eye. In the early 1990s, scientists noticed that the Northern Star was beginning to get darker and lose a bit of its brightness. Yet, by 2000, the star was on the rise and the brightness was returning brighter than ever. The scientists set out then to study the brightness of the Northern Star and have continued to this day.

Sources:

  1. bbc.co.uk
  2. space.com

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