Finding the North Star

Understanding the Moon Phases

Finding the North Star (Polaris) in the night sky

North Star

The North Star, or Polaris, is located in the constellation of Ursa Minor, also known as the Little Dipper. The star lies at the end of the handle of the Little Dipper. You can easily identify the star because it is one of the brightest stars (48th brightest) in the night sky. If you still need help locating the star, the two outermost stars in the bowl of the Big Dipper points directly to it.

north star

Drawing A Compass

After locating the North Star you can create a compass on the ground that points to north, east, west and south. As a result you can use this compass in the day light hours.

Draw a line on the ground with a stick so that it points north towards the North Star. You can label the end of the line pointing towards North with an “N” and label the opposite end with an “S”. Now draw a line perpendicular or 90 degrees to the north and south line. If you face North the right end of the second line points to the east and the left end points to the west. You can label the ends of the line accordingly.

In the daylight you will now have a compass that can point you in the right direction.

It is important to note that these stars are only viewable in the Northern Hemisphere. This will not be applicable in the southern hemisphere.


The North Star has been used for navigation for thousands of years The ability to accurately determine the where north is at night is a valuable navigational skill worth practicing. Knowing how to navigate using the stars is just another tool in your emergency navigational skills toolkit.