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Polaris

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Who is Polaris?

Polaris is the brightest star in the constellation, Ursa Minor, and the 45th brightest star in the night sky. It is very close to the north celestial pole, making it the current northern pole star. It is a multiple star, comprising the main star, UMi Aa, which is a supergiant; two smaller companions, UMi B and UMi Ab; and two distant components, UMi C and UMi D. UMi B was discovered in 1780 by William Herschel. Many recent papers calculate the distance to Polaris at about 434 light-years . Some suggest that it may be 30% closer, which, if correct, is especially notable because Polaris is the closest Cepheid variable to Earth, so its physical parameters are critically important to the whole astronomical distance scale. History of observa... Read More

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