Rotating Question Curious About Astronomy? Ask an Astronomer

Is there a "South Star"?

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.

September 2003, Christopher Springob (more by Christopher Springob) (Like this Answer)

Still Curious?

Get More 'Curious?' with Our New PODCAST:

Related questions:

More questions about Stars: Previous | Next

More questions about Stargazing: Previous | Next

How to ask a question:

If you have a follow-up question concerning the above subject, submit it here. If you have a question about another area of astronomy, find the topic you're interested in from the archive on our site menu, or go here for help.

Table 'curious.Referrers' doesn't existTable 'curious.Referrers' doesn't exist

URL: http://curious.astro.cornell.edu/question.php?number=576
This page has been accessed 43017 times since September 18, 2003.
Last modified: September 18, 2003 9:55:17 PM

Legal questions? See our copyright, disclaimer and privacy policy.
Ask an Astronomer is hosted by the Astronomy Department at Cornell University and is produced with PHP and MySQL.

Warning: Your browser is misbehaving! This page might look ugly. (Details)