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    Re: Pointer star question
    From: Frank Reed
    Date: 2013 Feb 3, 10:06 -0800

    On the simpler side of things, here are a couple of angular distances:
    1) Dubhe-Merak (the pointers): 5.38 degrees
    2) Dubhe-Polaris: 28.71
    3) Merak-Polaris: 34.07

    So to get to Polaris from Dubhe (the pointer star closer to Polaris), you step off five and a third times the distance between the pointer stars. Note that the third angle above doesn't quite equal the sum of the first two because the pointers do not quite "point" at Polaris. They also don't quite point to the NCP (north celestial pole). To get to the NCP (ignoring Polaris) using the pointers, step off 5.25x the Dubhe-Merak distance, then turn right and step off 0.25x the same distance.

    You can find the SCP (south celestial pole, no south star) similarly. Find the "pointer stars" of the Southern Cross, Acrux and Gacrux. They're 6 degrees apart. Step off 4.4x the distance between them from the more southerly star in the direction in which they point, then turn right and travel 0.5x that pointer separation distance, and that will put you very close to the SCP.


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