01 July 2013

Pole star on Different Planets

We have all seen night after night, season after season that one star in the north seems fixed in the sky. This is because the axis of earth rotation passes in the same line and so the star appears stationary; we call this star, pole star or Polaris. This star is the main star of constellation of Ursa Minor with a magnitude of 2. From Bangalore it will be 13degrees in altitude, remember that altitude of the pole star depends on latitude of the place. Here is a chart of the Polaris.

Now every planet rotates on its axis, so what will be the location of pole star for those planets in the solar system. Let’s begin with Mercury the closest to Sun, the location of pole star will be in constellation of Draco, the circle indicates the area where the Mercury pole star is located.
We know that there is no way we can have an open sky to see the stars on Venus but based on the orbit orientation of the planet we can say that the pole star will be in the constellation of Draco. Here is the sky chart of the location for Venus pole star.
The red planet we love to explore, we have seen the sunrise and sunset taken by the landing probes and also transit of Mars moon across Sun’s disk. If we were to find the pole star of Mars it will be in the constellation of Cygnus close to star Deneb.

The giant planet rotates fast taking only 9h55m to complete one rotation, while all constellations and stars are moving at dizzying speed one star in Draco will remain still, as the polar axis of Jupiter lies in Draco constellation.
The ringed planet has its pole close to our own pole star. Here is a chart on location of the pole star seen from Saturn.
This unique planet rotating with high axis angle seems rotating on its belly. The pole star for this Planet would lie between Taurus and Orion.
Last among outer “planets” is the planet Neptune and it would have the pole star in the constellation of Cygnus.