Location.—The two pointer stars in Ursa Major indicate the position of Polaris, the North Star, which represents the tip of the tail of the Little Bear, and the end of the handle of the "Little Dipper." In all ages of the world, Ursa Minor has been more universally observed and more carefully noticed than any other constellation, on account of the importance of the North Star.
Polaris is a little more than 1¼° from the true pole. Its light takes fifty years to reach us.
A line joining β Cassiopeiæ, and Megres, in Ursa Major, will pass through Polaris.
At the distance of the nearest fixed star our sun would shine as a star no brighter than Polaris which is presumably about the sun's size.
Polaris revolves around the true pole once in twenty-four hours in a little circle 2½° in diameter. Within this circle two hundred stars have been photographed.
The North Star is always elevated as many degrees above the horizon as the observer is north of the equator.
Compare the light of the four stars forming the bowl of the "Little Dipper," as they are each of a different magnitude. A standard first-magnitude star is 2½ times brighter than a standard second magnitude star, etc.