The New Student's Reference Work/North Star, The
North Star, The, is the nearest conspicuous star to the north pole. All stars describe circles, those nearest to the celestial equator the largest circles and those farthest from the celestial equator or nearest to the poles the smallest circles. The North Star being nearest to the north pole describes only a very small circle, and consequently to people living north of the 40° north latitude it never sets. Polaris, the star Alpha of the constellation Ursa Minor, is at present the North Star, and many centuries must pass before the north pole will be defined by any other star. Two stars in the constellation Ursa Major, commonly called the Big Dipper, always point in the direction of the Worth Star and enable it to be readily found. These stars are commonly called the pointers. They form the side of the bowl of the dipper opposite the handle.