Polaris (α UMi, α Ursae Minoris, Alpha Ursae Minoris, commonly North Star, Northern Star or Pole Star, also Lodestar, sometimes Guiding star) is the brightest star in the constellation Ursa Minor. It is very close to the north celestial pole, making it the current northern pole star.
Based on measurements from the Hipparcos astrometry satellite, Polaris is estimated to be at a distance of about 425 light-years from Earth. It is a multiple star, consisting of the main star α UMi Aa, two smaller companions, α UMi B and α UMi Ab, and two distant components α UMi C and α UMi D. α UMi B was discovered in 1780 by William Herschel.
Famous quotes containing the word polaris:
“Where is the unexplored land but in our own untried enterprises? To an adventurous spirit any placeLondon, New York, Worcester, or his own yardis unexplored land, to seek which Frémont and Kane travel so far. To a sluggish and defeated spirit even the Great Basin and the Polaris are trivial places.”
—Henry David Thoreau (18171862)