This is one of my glow in the dark murals featuring Ursa Minor and Major. The large luminous star is Polaris, the north star! It's the superstar of the Northern Hemisphere’s night sky. You can find it in Ursa Minor, which is also known as the Little Dipper or the Little Bear. Polaris is special because it's really close to the Northern Celestial Pole, making it seem still in a moving night sky as other stars move around it.
Polaris has been a shining guide for explorers, sailors, and adventurers for ages. They could figure out which way they were going just by looking for it. By measuring how high Polaris is above the horizon, they could even estimate their latitude or how far north they were.
Another little secret, Polaris isn't just a regular star, it's actually a team of three stars! The main one, Polaris Aa, is a big yellow supergiant. Its companion, Polaris Ab, is a smaller star that orbits around it. There's also another, Polaris B, but it's a bit farther away.
One fun fact about Polaris is that its brightness changes over time. It's called a Cepheid variable, and it has a cycle of about four days and six hours. So its glow is not steady, it changes in the real night sky!
This glow in the dark Polaris mural may be found in the star murals collection.
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