Star Naming Guide: Astronomy

Naked Eye Astronomy

With the products available through Name a Star Live, it’s easy to answer the question, “How do I name a star?” In addition, even without a powerful telescope, it’s easy to answer the question, “How do I find a star?” In fact, depending on where you observe from, there are many well-known stars and constellations that require no telescope to identify.

Two of the most obvious constellations are the Big Dipper and Little Dipper, which are located in what are known to astronomers as the constellations Ursa Major and Ursa Minor, respectively. The North Star (Polaris) is found at the end of the Little Dipper’s “handle.” It’s also aligned with the two stars that form the outer edge of the Big Dipper’s “bowl.” The North Star is aimed directly at the earth’s axis, so it never changes position in the sky—one reason why sailors navigated by it before the advent of GPS systems. Contrary to popular belief, the North Star is not the brightest star in the sky. Though, with a bit of practice, the North Star is easily identified.

Another well-known and easily spotted star is Arcturus, which can be found by following the handle of the Big Dipper. You can also find Sirius, which is also known as the “dog star.” Sirius is actually the brightest star in the night sky.

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