Talk:Pole star

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No mention of the size of the Earth's precession?[edit]

I'm not seeing any angles quantifying the precession. Is it 5 degrees, or 25 degrees, or what? Where was it pointed half a cycle ago (13,000 years ago) and how far away from Polaris (by perspective angle) is that? Br77rino (talk) 08:46, 31 January 2014 (UTC)

The center of the axial precession cycle is the ecliptic pole, so the diameter is about 23.5°×2 or 47°. --Lasunncty (talk) 10:06, 1 February 2014 (UTC)

Merge Proposal[edit]

This article is rather thin. North Star and South Star are a pair of short pages that somewhat duplicate this one and each other. Further, all three admit their incompleteness by directing the reader to others of the set for more information. One, more substantial, article could be formed by merging the other two into the appropriate sections of this one.

If there are no strong objections, I plan to accomplish the merge in March 2009.
B00P (talk) 23:26, 24 January 2009 (UTC)

    • Since there have been no objections in a long time, I have done the merge. (talk) 21:26, 3 January 2010 (UTC).


Pluto is currently included in the list of planets, but it is no longer recognized as such. So, the table of planets should read from Mercury through to Neptune. Pluto should be referred to as a dwarf planet, its official designation. It may keep its pole star (heh). 68Kustom (talk) 04:41, 7 March 2009 (UTC)

Text from Precession (astronomy)[edit]

With this edit on June 24, 2009, Robogun (talk · contribs) created the section Pole star#Precession by copying the section Precession (astronomy)#Changing pole stars without attribution. Please see the page history for appropriate attribution. Novangelis (talk) 19:16, 3 July 2009 (UTC)

possible merge with Polaris[edit]

I realize that Polaris is "currently" the pole star, and that there may in theory be others. The problem is that there aren't. The only star that has historically ever been described as "pole star" is Polaris. Indeed "[stella] Polaris" means nothing else but "pole star". Hence it is misleading and a potential WP:CFORK to keep these pages separate.

It is true that Polaris is only "currently" the pole star, and that a thousand years ago, and in a thousand years' time, there will be no pole star. Well, 2000 years is a pretty good expectation for the usefulness of any Wikipedia article.

The statement that "Currently, there is no South Star as useful as Polaris" sounds as if this may change any day, and yes, Wikipedia will keep you updated as soon as new developments arise. This may be the case in as little as another five millennia. Enough to tag this article with {{current}}? --dab (𒁳) 18:36, 28 September 2011 (UTC)

Thuban was the recognized pole star for the early Ancient Egyptians. They laid out the Great Pyramid with it so the sides would face north south east and west. Sagittarian Milky Way (talk) 18:16, 30 November 2011 (UTC)


I made two small changes to the article. 1: The presence of a 19th magnitude star near the north celestial pole is irrelevant to the topic. 2: The north star is not visible south of the equator. It's true that refraction lifts the stars but extinction makes fainter stars like Polaris invisible to the naked eye at lower latitudes. The north star (today) is visible from about 3 degrees north and above.2600:1000:B003:733C:CCD0:F7AA:265E:924D (talk) 15:33, 11 October 2014 (UTC)

I agree with your second edit, however I Want to remind you that, regarding your first edit, the topic is not on the closest visible object to the north, but rather simply the north star. While USNOA etc etc may only be north star for a few years, it is currently the closest star to the north pole and as such is worthy of being mentioned in the article. exoplanetaryscience (talk) 22:40, 11 October 2014 (UTC)
The concept of the "pole star" has always been a star visible to the naked eye, and the entire article is otherwise about such stars. The opening sentence of the article describes a pole star as a "visible star". While that's a bit ambiguous (all stars are visible in some sense, even black holes), the clear implication is a "naked eye" star. The article is ABOUT stars near the celestial poles visible to the naked eye. I cannot recall any time in the history of astronomy or celestial navigation when anyone has identified a star too faint to be seen with unaided vision as the "true" pole star. In addition, why stop at magnitude 19? I guarantee that there is a 22nd magnitude star that is even closer to the north celestial pole today. Finally when dealing with such faint stars, the distance from the celestial pole becomes so small that there would a new "true" pole star on a daily basis. Merely looking up a star in a catalog and finding the one with the declination closest to 90.0 north is bad astronomy. Precession, nutation, aberration, proper motion and more will shift that star's position around more than than the small residual distance from the coordinate pole found in the catalog. FINALLY, the simplest problem with the inclusion of this very faint star is that it is unsourced, original research. There are no reliable sources (excluding sources which are clearly referencing the Wikipedia page) that refer to this star as a pole star. Therefore I am removing it again. 2600:1000:B025:4868:11FE:67A4:6B3F:4346 (talk) 17:16, 12 October 2014 (UTC)
Okay, I accept your removal of it, however I just want to say first that the position of the Earth's pole points to a relatively sparsely-populated part of space as it is not particularly close to the center of the galaxy, and as such all stars are less than ~3-4000 light years from the Sun. And chances are that even dim K-dwarfs would have a magnitude of ~19 at that location. A quick scan of DSS on wikisky shows that USNOA2 1725-00522696 and another star, J0518+8959 are currently nearly tied for the highest position, with precession leading J0518+8959 to be the north star in a few months to a year. However at the moment, USNOA2 1725-00522696 is above J0518+8959 by only about 6.5 arcseconds, making it for the time being the closest star to the north.
Yes, good point about the sparseness of the sky in the current direction of the celestial poles, but go down another two or three magnitudes. Guaranteed there are many more. We've got a galaxy FULL of M dwarfs.

Also a few runners-up

Object name
(bolded if official name)
RA DEC magnitude (approx)
USNOA2 1725-00522696 15h 58m 30s +89° 59′ 25.1″ 19
J0518+8959 05h 18m 00s +89° 59′ 19.7″ 19.5
USNOA2 1725-00681665 21h 07m 00s +89° 58′ 57.3″ 18.5
USNOA2 1725-00034254 A 00h 43m 00s +89° 58′ 38.6″ 17.5
USNOA2 1725-00119402 02h 40m 00s +89° 58′ 36.8″ 19
suspected galaxy
13h 08m 30s +89° 58′ 37.1″ 18.5
USNOA2 1725-00034254 B 00h 46m 40s +89° 58′ 36.6″ 18.75
USNOA2 1725-00440484 12h 44m 30s +89° 58′ 27.7″ 16.25
J2252+8958 22h 52m 00s +89° 58′ 23.8″ 19.25
USNOA2 1725-00224203 05h 18m 15s +89° 58′ 20.5″ 18
(for scale)
02h 31m 42s +89° 15′ 53″ 2

Just thought I'd put this here for now exoplanetaryscience (talk) 00:03, 13 October 2014 (UTC)

How about listing the brightest star north of +89°15′53″, and then the brightest star north of that one, and so on? Presumably there are some between magnitudes 2 and 18. —Tamfang (talk) 05:25, 13 October 2014 (UTC)
First a list of all stars above magnitude 7 at +87° or greater
Object name (sp. type) RA DEC magnitude
Polaris F7Ib 02h 31m 42s +89° 15′ 53″ 2.02
Lambda Ursae Minoris M1III 17h 16m 55s +89° 02′ 16″ 6.38
HD 5914 A3V 01h 33m 51s +89° 00′ 56″ 6.46
HD 107192 F2V 12h 15m 20s +87° 42′ 00″ 6.28
HD 221525 A7IV 23h 26m 59.5s +87° 18′ 27.5″ 5.58
HD 6319 K2III 01h 16m 13s +87° 08′ 43.5″ 6.25
HD 51802 M2III 07h 40m 31s +87° 01′ 13″ 5.07
And a list of brightest star closest to the pole.
Object name (sp. type) RA DEC magnitude
Sirius A1V 06h 45m 08.92s −16° 42′ 58.02″ -1.47
Arcturus KOIII 14h 15m 39.7s +19° 10′ 57″ -0.04
Vega A0Va 18h 36m 56.34s +38° 47′ 01.28″ 0.03
Capella G1III 05h 16m 41.36s +45° 59′ 52.77″ 0.08
Epsilon Ursae Majoris A1III 12h 54m 01.75s +55° 57′ 35.36″ 1.77
Alpha Ursae Majoris G9III 11h 03m 43.67s +61° 45′ 03.72″ 1.79
Polaris F7Ib 02h 31m 42s +89° 15′ 53″ 2.02
HD 1687 K0 00h 39m 42s +89° 26′ 40.0″ 8.13
HD 21070 A5 09h 46m 25s +89° 34′ 10.3″ 9.05
TYC 4629-37-1 K2 04h 42m 49s +89° 37′ 49″ 9.16
TYC 4661-2-1 A0 21h 16m 52s +89° 46′ 27.1″ 9.66
TYC 4643-26-1 ~K5 08h 12m 25s +89° 49′ 54.6″ 11.16
USNOA2 1725-00386335 ~G 10h 17m 00s +89° 54′ 40.2″ 13.05
USNOA2 1725-00277543 G/K 06h 44m 00s +89° 57′ 17.1″ 13.85
USNOA2 1725-00491197 F/G 14h 50m 30s +89° 57′ 46.2″ 14.60
USNOA2 1725-00440484 K5-9 12h 44m 00s +89° 58′ 27.6″ 16.35
USNOA2 1725-00034254A ? 00h 43m 00s +89° 58′ 38.3″ 17.4
USNOA2 1725-00681665 F/G/K 21h 07m 00s +89° 58′ 57.4″ 18.5
USNOA2 1725-00522696 G/K/M 15h 58m 33s +89° 59′ 25.4″ 19.05
galaxy(?) 10h 00m 00s +89° 59′ 56.6″ 20/21
A list like this has plenty of entertainment value, for sure (and this Talk page is a good place for it), but it's not relevant to the article, and it's not Wikipedia material because it's your creation, your "original research". Back to the main point, historically and today, when we talk about the current "pole star", we're talking about a star that is relatively easy to see and certainly naked eye. In fact, there's even some good reason to debate whether sigma Octantis should be counted as the "south star" and the article, as it stands, is very clear on this. That star, fainter than magnitude 5, is almost too faint to be consider as a pole star. So even by the article's own internal logic, fainter stars don't count. 2600:1000:B00D:6482:8973:622A:704C:F1A2 (talk) 16:48, 13 October 2014 (UTC)
As it appears to me, I believe we already have agreed on the current state of the article as being acceptable, but at this point are simply elaborating on simple trivial topics that were created for no further purpose than existing in a talk page, should anyone decide to go here and see it. exoplanetaryscience (talk) 17:01, 13 October 2014 (UTC)
Thanks, Exo., for the entertainment value. —Tamfang (talk) 04:48, 14 October 2014 (UTC)


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