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DUE NORTH

Learn how to find the north star in the night skies

Suitable For

Grade 6

Difficulty

2

Time Required

 <1 Week

Supervision

Advised

What’s it about?

The North Star, also called ‘Polaris’, has been one of mankind’s most favoured navigational tools for ages, putting it to good use as far as determining latitude and locating the direction of North. The constellations called the ‘Big Dipper’ and the ‘Little Dipper’, located in the northern sky, near the pole are often used to find the north star. You must be located in the northern hemisphere to see them both clearly and to do the following science experiment:

Topics covered

Big dipper, Little dipper, Polaris

What will I need?

  • STAR CHARTS
  • YOUR EYES

Procedure (Method)

Unfortunately, this section is only available in the e-book version of the project.

How does it work?

Unfortunately, this section is only available in the e-book version of the project.

The North Star is an important navigation tool for finding which direction north is. All the other stars seem to rotate around this star because the northern axis of the earth points almost directly toward it. Because it has seven bright stars, the Big Dipper is easy to find in the night sky.

Big Dipper’s shape is representative of the shape of a soup ladle of which three of the Big Dipper’s stars form the curved handle of the dipper and the other four forms the bowl. If you start at the handle and go around the bowl, their names are: Alkaid, Mizar, Alioth, Megrez, Phad, Merak and Dubhe. The Little Dipper is harder to see because it’s made up of fainter stars.

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