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Astro Bob

Hey, Where Did The Big Dipper Go?

18 Nov 2019, 18:22 UTC
Hey, Where Did The Big Dipper Go?
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

In this view of the sky from Minneapolis the blue circle includes all stars within 45° of the North Star, equal to the city’s latitude of 45°. Every star within the circle is circumpolar, meaning it’s above the horizon 24 hours a day and never sets. The radius of the circle is shown in red. The meridian (green) cuts north-south through the scene. Stellarium with additions by the author
Notice a familiar star pattern missing these late fall nights? How about the Big Dipper. It’s still there for some of us but you might just need to stand on your tippy toes to see it. For observers like myself who live in the northern U.S. the Dipper never sets. Provided you find an open view to the north, it’s our constant companion, slowly wheeling around the North Star like the hour hand on a clock.
From Tucson (latitude 32°), Polaris is lower in the northern sky compared to Minneapolis, restricting the number of circumpolar stars to those lying within 32° of the North Star. Stellarium
Like Cassiopeia, Cepheus and several other constellation that lie near North Star or Polaris, the Big Dipper is circumpolar. It goes round and round Polaris ...

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