Stargazing with Jack Horkheimer

There is a comic book page about how to find the North Star depending on your location and latitude.

Image: Stargazer stands, holding an apple and a ladle.

Stargazer says, “Greetings, greetings, fellow stargazers! It's easy to find the North Star, Polaris, by using the Big Dipper, which Native Americans saw as a big bear!”

Image: There is a picture of nighttime stars. It shows how the Big Dipper constellation moves in the night sky for each season. The North Star is located in the middle.

Stargazer says, “Look north at 9 p.m. on the first day of each season…and you'll see…that the Big Dipper…is in a different position.”

Image: Stargazer is in the sky, dressed in traditional Native American clothing, shooting an arrow in a straight line through the two stars at the front of the Big Dipper, towards the North Star.

Stargazer says, “Now, take the two stars at the end of the bowl and shoot an arrow five and one half times the distance between them.”

Image: Stargazer, still wearing traditional Native American clothing, is speaking.

Stargazer says, “The tip of the arrow will glance the North Star, the end star in the handle of the Little Dipper—or Little Bear.”

Image: Stargazer looks at the Little Dipper in the sky.

Stargazer says, “Don't be disappointed if you can't see the Little Dipper right away. Its stars are much fainter than those in the Big Dipper.”

Image: Stargazer stands in an elevator with a star and a worm.

Stargazer says, “The farther north you live, the higher the North Star will be above your horizon.”

Stargazer says, “In fact, the North Star will be the same number of degrees above your horizon as your latitude is above the equator.”

Star says, “40 degrees north latitude, please.”

Image: Stargazer is standing in front of a tall glass building, wearing a New York athletic jacket and hat. The North Star appears half-way up the building.

Stargazer says, “If you live in New York, the North Star will be forty degrees above your horizon, because New York is forty degrees north latitude.”

Image: Stargazer is standing in front of a tall glass building, wearing a summer shirt and sunglasses. The North Star appears one-fourth of the way up the building.

Stargazer says, “In Miami, it will be only twenty five degrees above your horizon, because Miami's latitude is twenty five degrees.”

Image: Stargazer, along with a smiling polar bear, is standing in front of a tall glass building, wearing a parka and mittens. The North Star appears at the top of the building.

Stargazer says, “And if you live at the North Pole, it will be ninety degrees above the horizon—directly overhead! It's simple, if you keep looking up!”

Activity

  1. In Lesson 3, you learned that stars arranged in patterns are called what?
  2. How does the place where a person lives affect how the North Star appears in the sky?
  3. How does this relationship make the North Star a useful star in the night sky?