The Polar Star project gives a sense of what we find in a more-or- less random sample of the sky. The photo below, which reaches to 10th magnitude, shows the stars in a box 6.0 degrees wide centered on Polaris, the North Star. Surrounding it are 10 more naked-eye stars (defined as having magnitude 6.5 or brighter), each having its own essay in the Stars pages. All the stars are in either Ursa Minor or Cepheus. Directly below the photo are:
Second magnitude Polaris, Alpha Ursae Minoris, of Ursa Minor (at the end of the handle of the Little Dipper) is smack in the middle of the picture, which is 6.0 degrees across. Yildun, Delta UMi, is the bright star at upper right. Lambda UMi (a red giant, note the color), lies in between them. The star immediately down and to the right of Polaris is HR 286, while 24 UMi is just down and to the left of Yildun. 2 UMi, which is actually in Cepheus, is the bright star at the lower edge to the right. OV Cephei, actually in Cepheus proper, is at the far left edge just above center. HR 1107 (Cepheus) is the brighter of the two stars down tward the lower left corner. HR 306 and HR 8938 are the two brighter stars to the right of HR 1107, while HR 4686 lies near the top edge just to the left of center. The ragged circle of faint stars down and to the left of Polaris is called the "Engagement Ring," with of course Polaris as its shining stone. The North Celestial Pole (for the year 2000) is just to the left of the center of the line between Polaris and Lambda. Polaris is right at mid-second magnitude. Lambda (at magnitude 6.4) and HR 286 (6.5) are near the limit of naked-eye vision. The faintest stars in the picture are 10th magnitude.
|To see a labelled image, push the star:|
See the expanded image (rotated
through 180 degrees).
|Polaris||2.02||F7 Ib||430||-3.59||2200||Alpha UMi; Pole star; Cepheid|
|2 UMi||4.25||K2 II-III||313||-0.66||273||In Cepheus, HR 285|
|Yildun||4.36||A1 IV||183||0.62||47||Delta UMi; fast rotator|
|OV Cep||5.07||M2 III||500||-0.86||850||Variable of unknown type|
|HR 8938 Cep||5.58||A7 IV||307||0.61||44||0.1 mag interstellar absorption|
|24 UMi||5.79||A2 V||156||2.39||10||Metallic line star|
|HR 1107 Cep||5.84||F5 IV||133||2.78||6.0||Really a dwarf; of polar stars most similar to Sun|
|HR 306 Cep||6.25||K2 III||326||1.25||45||Not much known|
|HR 4686 UMi||6.28||F2 V||152||2.94||5.2||Gamma Dor variable; part of the "English Rose"|
|Lambda UMi||6.38||M1 III||880||-0.77||600||Greek letter not from Bayer; neglected|
|HR 286 UMi||6.47||A3 V||321||1.50||21||Closest to Polaris|