As a compass, we simply need to look at the two stars at the end of the bowl of the Big Dipper, known as the "pointer stars," which act as stellar compass needles, pointing directly toward Polaris, the North Star.
The first star to the left of the dipper is called Alnitak and the second one is called Adar. Together, they form what looks like a hand with its index finger pointed north.
Alnitak is a bright giant star that lies near the center of our Milky Way Galaxy. It is approximately 16 times more massive than the Sun and has a surface temperature of about 5,000 degrees Fahrenheit (3,048 degrees Celsius). Adar is a dimmer companion star that sits almost exactly opposite from Alnitak along the axis of the Dipper handle. It is also a giant star, but much less massive than Alnitak. Adar has a surface temperature of about 7,500 degrees Fahrenheit (4,264 degrees Celsius).
Polaris does not actually move from night to night, but rather it stays put while everything around it moves. So, in order for these pointer stars to remain aligned with Polaris, they must be given a little push each day by the rotation of the Earth.
These pushes come in the form of wind from clouds that form over Antarctica.
Polaris, often known as the North Star, may be found using the Big Dipper. A line drawn from the two outermost stars in the Big Dipper's bowl points to Polaris. The hour hand is a line traced between the two pointer stars of the Big Dipper, Dubhe and Merak. When plotted on a chart, this provides a guide for sailors as they travel by night.
The Big Dipper is one of the constellations in the night sky that most people can identify. It is made up of two large dippers or buckets facing each other with their handles toward the center point between them. They look like two ice cream cones with their wide bases pointing towards the north pole and their narrow ends stretching away from it. There are four bright stars located within the circle formed by the dipper's arms: Alnitak and Betelgeuse (the two pointers) and Rigel.
Polaris is the only star that cannot be seen with the naked eye. It lies about 26000 light years away from Earth and is the closest star to our galaxy's center. It has two names, Ursa Minor ("little bear") and Ursa Major ("great bear"), which refer to its shape when viewed from Earth.
Ursa Major is a huge constellation that covers almost a quarter of the night sky. It is made up of three sections or "arms" with Polaris at the end of the middle arm.
The two outermost stars in the bowl of the Big Dipper always point to Polaris, the North Star. This is why astronomers refer to these stars as "The Pointers." The next three stars in a line also point north. They are named after the constellations from which they appear to come: Cleopatra's Needle (or Octans), Beta Capricorni (the Crab's Back), and Gamma Capricorni (the Crab's Head). These stars never point south even though they are all well beyond the southern horizon.
The fourth star in the dipper's handle is Alpha Capricorni. It too points north even though it is below the northern horizon. Finally, the fifth and innermost star in the dipper's handle points south. It is called Sigma Capricorni and lies about halfway between Saturn and Jupiter.
In conclusion, the stars in the Big Dipper point north but not south. The one exception is Sigma Capricorni which points south.
And take note of Polaris, which marks the point of the Little Dipper's handle. Polaris lies at the middle of the northern sky, which is shaped like a huge clock. So to find north, you simply look for the spot where 12:00 noon is projected onto this visible-from-Earth part of the sky.
The fact that it takes place on a sea makes me think that Antarctica might be the answer but I'm not sure about that.
Polaris is the North Star. The Big Dipper seems to orbit Polaris, popularly known as the North Star, and the brightest star in Ursa Minor, the Little Dipper, throughout the year. Begin by looking for the two stars at the front of the Big Dipper's "bowl," Merak on the closed side and Dubhe on the open side. They are both very small but lie along a straight line. Connect them with your fingers and they will form a triangle.
The next thing you need to know is that this is not a single star but a pair of stars that orbit around each other every 120 years or so. This is because they move relative to one another across the sky. In fact, they travel about 20 degrees from north to south and 10 degrees east to west over a period of 120 years.
When they are near the center of the sky they appear close together, but when they are on opposite sides of the sky they are far apart. This is why it takes three stars to make up the dipper; when they are close together they are one object, when they are far apart they are another object.
There are some parts of the world where there is no visible Polar Star due to light pollution, so remember that the dipper is actually a constellation. It borders the constellations Draco on the west, Ursa Major on the north, Cassiopeia on the east, and Cygnus on the south.
Instead, navigators utilize two stars in the Southern Cross, Alpha and Gamma, to determine latitude and longitude. If you can spot the Little Dipper first, you can easily find the North Star. The North Star is located near the tip of the Little Dipper's handle (Ursa Minor). It can't be seen at night with the naked eye, but it can be found using a star chart or computer program such as Google Sky.
The location of the North Star does not change, but as we rotate around the Earth, the orientation of the Little Dipper changes too. So by watching the behavior of these two objects over time, we can estimate our position very accurately.
For example, if you were to watch the behavior of the North Star and the Little Dipper from now until Christmas Day, your position on Christmas Day would be exactly between their locations on December 24th. Because the Earth spins at about 1,000 miles per hour, you would travel 20 miles north then south each hour around the planet.
This method was used by ancient Greek and Roman sailors, as well as early American settlers. They called the star Ursa Major (the major bear) because of its visible shape from anywhere on Earth. Today, astronomers use computers to track stars and calculate positions, so most people today don't need to rely on the North Star for navigation.