Is there a "South Star"? (Intermediate)

What is the name of the south star? Example: The north star is Polaris.

There is no "South Star". It's just a coincidence that there happens to be a bright star (Polaris) close to the Celestial North Pole. The Southern Hemisphere isn't so lucky. The only star that comes close is Sigma Octans, which is 1 degree away from the South Celestial Pole. But it's only 6th magnitude--too dim to see at all except under optimal conditions. Of course, because the stars move in the sky, the fact that we have a North Star and not a South Star is a transient phenomenon. If you wait many thousands of years the situation might be reversed.


This page updated on June 27, 2015

About the Author

Christopher Springob

Christopher Springob

Chris studies the large scale structure of the universe using the peculiar velocities of galaxies.  He got his PhD from Cornell in 2005, and is now a Research Assistant Professor at the University of Western Australia.

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