setâre-ye qotbi, jodey, mix-e gâh
Fr.: étoile polaire
The brightest star associated with the → north celestial pole. Polaris, also called the Pole Star, is a → triple system lying at about 433 → light-years (133 → parsecs) from the Earth. It is not exactly located on the Earth → rotation axis, because an → angular distance of 42 arc-minutes (about 1.4 lunar diameter) separates it from the true north pole. The main star, Polaris Aa (→ visual magnitude about 2), is a variable → pulsating star of type → Cepheid. It is a hot, blue F7 Ib → supergiant star having a → luminosity about 1,260 times that of the Sun. It has a mass of 5.4 Msun, a radius of 37.5 Rsun, and a → surface temperature of 6,015 K. The close companion Ab (apparent magnitude 9.2) is only 0''.17 (about 18.5 → astronomical units) from Polaris A. It was discovered in 1929 through examining the spectrum of Polaris A. It orbits Aa every 29.59 years. Ab is a → main sequence star of → spectral type F6 V. It has a mass of 1.26 Msun, a radius of 1.04 Rsun, and a luminosity of 3 Lsun. The third component, Polaris B (visual magnitude 8.7), is separated from A by 18.2 arc sec, corresponding to approximately 2,400 AU. It was first noticed by William Herschel in 1780. Polaris B is a main sequence star of type F3 V with a mass 1.39 Msun, a radius 1.8 Rsun, a luminosity of 3.9 Lsun, and a surface temperature of 6,900 K. Due to the → precession of equinoxes, the direction that Earth's axis points at changes slowly with time. Hence, Polaris has not always been, nor will it always be, the Pole Star. Polaris is actually drawing closer to the pole and in 2100 it will be as close to it as it ever will come, just 27.15 arc-minutes or slightly less than the Moon's apparent diameter. It will continue its reign as the North Star for many centuries to come. Historically, around 400 B.C., during Plato's time the nearest star to the Pole star was → Kochab (β Ursae Minoris). Some 4,600 years ago, when the Egyptians constructed the Pyramids, the Pole star was → Thuban (α Draconis). In 2,000 years the star → Errai (γ Cephei) will become the Pole Star. And around the year 14,000, Earth's axis will point reasonably close to the star → Vega, the fifth brightest star in the sky.
Mod.L. short for stella polaris "the pole star," → polar.
Setâre-ye qotbi "polar star," from setâré,
→ star, + qotbi, → polar.