Future North Stars

Future North Stars

Future North Stars

Within the next few decades, the world’s population will nearly double. What will happen to the world economy, the environment, the global population, and our planet’s resources?


Polaris will remain the North Star throughout the rest of our lives and for a few centuries later. Throughout the past few centuries, Polaris has served as a North Star marker for navigators, escaping slaves and other explorers. During this time, the NCP has appeared to be drawing closer to Polaris and continues to do so, today. By 2102, the NCP and Polaris will attain their minimum separation distance of 27'. After 2102, the NCP will slowly move away from Polaris and within 2,000 years will pass close to Errai, a star within Cepheus the King. Although Errai is about three times dimmer than Polaris and the NCP won't ever be as close to it as it was to Polaris, observers in 2,000 years will likely use Errai as the North Star.

The circular path of the north celestial pole (in orange), due to axial precession, relative to the stars. Over the course of about 26,000 years, the Earth’s rotational axis, projected onto the sky, will trace a circle in northern and southern skies. Positive numbers in yellow show dates in CE (Common Era) where the north celestial pole will be located relative to the stars. Negative numbers in yellow represent BCE (Before Common Era) dates. Polaris is shown near the top of the circle at 2,000 CE, our current time. Image via Tau’olunga/ Wikimedia Commons. (Source: earthsky.org)


Astronomers announced they had found a planet around the Gamma Cephei stellar system in 1988. Over the years, confusion about what type of stars existed in the stellar system called into question whether the planet really existed, so the scientists retracted their finding in 1992. But in 2002, new observations allowed astronomers to refine their data on the two stars in Gamma Cephei, and they realized once again that a planet indeed circled the binary pair.

After moving past another star of Cepheus, the pole will take aim at Deneb, the “tail” of Cygnus, the swan, around the year 10,000. And 3500 years after that we’ll have the brightest pole star of all, Vega. Neither Deneb nor Vega will be all that close to the true celestial pole, but their brilliance will make up for the gap. (Source: stardate.org)



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