Our Earth's North Pole points to a spot in the sky called the north celestial pole
. It lies very close to the brightest star of the Little Dipper, which is why we call that star Polaris, or the North Star.
Ideal aiming directions are about 20-30[degrees] to one side of the radiant at 50[degrees] altitude above the horizon--Cygnus in the early evening, the Square of Pegasus later in the night, or towards the north celestial pole
, for best results.
Skywatchers in the Northern Hemisphere are expected to have a clear view of the comet because it will initially appear high in the sky, near the north celestial pole
, all night.
No star is located exactly at either celestial pole, but the Pole Star is not far from the north celestial pole
, making a small orbit about it once every twenty-four hours.
Well, actually, I have seen the future positions of the north celestial pole
(on a map in Guy Ottewell's Astronomical Companion) and those positions are in Cepheus.
Because of its proximity to the north celestial pole
, the Engagement Ring is visible all night long, every night of the year, for Northern Hemisphere observers.
Because of its unique position very close to the north celestial pole
, Polaris has attracted more attention over the years than other stars of comparable brightness.
Since it's circumpolar, 22[degrees] from the north celestial pole
, you can follow it all the way through its rise to its predicted maximum next June.
Later, the god Jupiter flung the bear into the heavens near the north celestial pole
. When viewed from midnorthern latitudes on up through the Arctic, Ursa Major is a circumpolar constellation--it never sets below the horizon and is therefore visible every clear night of the year.
Today the Wagon seems to precede the Dragon around the celestial pole as the sky turns, but during the 3rd millennium BC the north celestial pole
was near Alpha Draconis (Thuban), so the Wagon and most of the Dragon pivoted closely around the pole opposite each other.