Which star does Polaris refer to? Why is it always north of the earth?

This paper takes part in the series essay competition of “great science” of Recordunkown.

Every night, a large number of stars appear in the sky. For these stars, the ancients did not know what they were? But in the eyes of modern people, we all know that they are basically stars similar to the sun.


The brightness of stars all over the sky is also different. Some stars are particularly bright, while others are darker. Although many people don’t know much about the stars in the sky, there is one star that most people know. It is the north star.

I believe my friends are not unfamiliar with Polaris. It can be said that Polaris has the highest degree of knowledge in the star world. In the clear night sky, we can see an extremely bright star due north, which is Polaris. As long as you look up to the north at night, it’s easy to see this star. You don’t need any professional knowledge of star searching. As long as you see which star is the brightest, it’s Polaris.

In the hearts of the ancients, the status of Polaris was very high. It can be said that every ancient observer regarded Polaris as the number one among the stars. Because it’s too bright, and its position will never change. I believe many people know that the position of stars in the sky is not the same. They are basically in motion.


Therefore, the ancient star watchers recorded the moving position of each star, so as to find a certain rule to observe, so they had astrology. When the ancients observed and studied the movement of stars, an important reference object was Polaris, because it would not change like other stars. It always stuck to its position and was always located in the north.

Therefore, Polaris is a very important indicator for ancient navigation and field activities to identify the direction. In addition, it is also a constellation for identifying the direction as small as the introduction to star watching, as large as astronomical photography and the accurate positioning of the equatorial instrument in the observation room. Because Polaris is the closest to due north, people on earth have been guided by its starlight for thousands of years.


So which star does Polaris really mean and why can it always be in the north of the earth? Polaris is a bright star in the north of the sky, very close to the north celestial pole, almost facing the earth’s axis. Polaris is also known as Beichen, Zigong and ziweiyuan. Purple is the name of Xuan, and the Purple Palace is also called Xuan palace. The female in the palace is Yin De Xing, the goddess of Yanzi. Some people think that Haotian God lives in Beichen, “Haotian emperor is the emperor, the star of Beichen.” From about 15000 to 13000 years ago, Polaris was named Vega because of Yanzi’s Vega, which originated from the ancient Han people’s natural worship of the ancient stars. So it’s called Polaris.

These are some of the myths of the ancients about Polaris. In the age of science and technology, we have been able to observe some mysterious veil of Polaris through telescopes. We also know that it is a star located in the direction of Ursa Minor, about 434 light-years away from the earth. The mass is about four times that of the sun. Many people may think that Polaris is the only star, but it is not.

If Polaris is just a fixed star, it can’t occupy the North position of the earth forever. We should know that the earth is always in the state of rotation, and the rotation axis is not invariable. Under the gravitational action of the sun and the moon, the rotation axis of the earth will swing periodically (about 25700 years is a cycle). This phenomenon is called “earth rotation” The ball moves forward.


Because of the “earth precession” phenomenon, the earth’s axis of rotation will not always point to the same direction, so we will see that the position of the stars in the sky is not fixed, but in a kind of motion. Before there was no astronomical telescope, human beings relied on long-term observation of the stars’ orbits, thus having a preliminary understanding of the universe and knowing that the earth is not fixed Fixed, but always in motion, and by recording the motion position of the stars, we can get the accurate orbit and period.

If you go to observe and record the trajectory of Polaris, you will be disappointed because it is motionless. If it refers to the only star, Polaris can’t stay in the North forever. Since it can stay in the North forever, it means that Polaris is not a particular star in the sky, it is a general term.


According to the definition of Polaris in modern science, it is the nearest bright star to the north celestial pole. From this definition, we can see that Polaris is not fixed. In fact, through astronomical observation, there are more than 30 “candidates” of Polaris at present. On average, they will be replaced every 800 to 1000 years.

It is because of the constant exchange of Polaris that it can always be the brightest star due north, and it can always occupy the position of due north. The current Polaris is “tick one”, which will keep away from the north pole for decades to come. About 500 years from now, the name “Polaris” will be replaced by another star, “check four.”.

In the legend of Cowherd and Weaver, Vega is also one of the “candidates” of Polaris. It will hold the post of “Polaris” in about 11500 years. Although we now know that Polaris is the constant replacement of a group of stars, not a particular star, it has still established a firm position in the long years of human civilization.


Because the position of Polaris is relatively stable and not easy to change, people feel loyal and have their own position. From the point of view of life, Polaris has the meaning of guiding us to reach the goal, just as it can let us distinguish the direction.

From the perspective of love, Polaris symbolizes firmness, persistence and eternal protection. If it is personified, then it must have a commitment to the star close to it, or it will not give up the guardian, such as the moon. Although they are far away, Polaris is still the guardian. So Polaris is very firm, symbolizing that it will never change.


Polaris once said to the earth, if you ever get lost, just look up at me, I will wait for you here forever. So people who lost their way would look up for the north star. So after you get lost at night, will you also look up for the North Star to determine the direction?

Polaris is still too far away for human beings, more than 430 light-years away from the earth, which is a gap we can’t cross at present. But with the continuous progress of human science and technology, in the future, when we become an interstellar civilization and have the ability of interstellar navigation. You can go across the galaxy to Polaris for close observation, to see what is the status of the noble Polaris in the human heart? Will there be the same intelligent civilization as human beings? We are looking forward to that day.

Guys, what do you think of this? Welcome to leave a message below to discuss and express your opinions.

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