Position in the Sky

Named Stars

Did you see the movie Dragonheart? It was OK. It certainly isn't my favorite movie of all time, but the special effects that made the dragon were pretty cool. Anyway, the constellation pictured above was shown many times during the movie (upside down, though). Did you know that as the year goes on, Draco turns upside down? During winter evenings, it appears like the picture above (if you are looking north) while in the summer, it it flipped over. This is because from our point of view here on Earth, it has rotated around the North Star.

About 4000 years ago, the star Thuban was the North Star. Since then, precession of the Earth's axis has changed where the North Pole points, so the North Star is now Polaris. In another 10,000 years or so, the North Star will be Vega.

See also Star Facts for June 1995

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