Little Dipper Constellation
Home Of The Pole Star Polaris
Actually like the
big dipper constellation
the little dipper is an asterism not a constellation.
An asterism is a distict picture formed by stars
within an official constellation or parts of
Remember that a constellation is one of the 88
sections of sky used in astronomy to make finding
things easier, like a map of the sky.
The constellation is Ursa Minor the "lesser" bear.
The Dipper is 7 stars within Ursa Minor.
The end star at the handle of the dipper is
Polaris, the north star.
Viewing Polaris will always let you know which way is north.
At the north celestial pole, Polaris will be almost
directly overhead so it's also known as the Pole star.
You can use the Big Dipper to find the North star
by following the two stars at the front of the
Travel about 5 times the distance between those two
stars and you will find Polaris.
Because of precession Polaris will not be the pole
star in about 14,000 years. At that time the north
star will become Vega in the constellation Lyra.
Viewing The Dipper
Right Ascension: 15 hours
Declination: 70 degrees
Visible between latitudes 90 and -10 degrees
Best seen in June (at 9:00 PM)
POLARIS (Alpha UMi)
KOCAB (Beta UMi)
Pherkad (Gamma UMi)
Yildun (Delta UMi)
Pherkad Minor (11 UMi)
Unfortunately Ursa Minor is not
filled with many interesting deep-sky
The Ursa Minor dwarf galaxy resides here and
at magnitude 2.0 is easily visible in binoculars.
The "engagement ring" asterism is located near
Polaris. It's a circle of stars visible in
binoculars and telescopes.
Ursa Minor contains no nebulae or star clusters.
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