The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, / But in ourselves
For a thousand years, the Pole Star has remained perfectly still while the rest of the celestial sphere appears to circle around it. Its name comes from the Latin Stella Polaris, meaning ‘Pole Star’, but it’s had many different names in the past: ‘The Pathway’, ‘Navel of the World’, and ‘Hub of the Cosmos’. Polaris is the 50th brightest star and can be found easily even in a suburban sky—it marks the end of the handle of the Ursa Minor constellation, also known as the Little Dipper. It points due north, so it is an excellent fixed point from which to draw measurements for navigation. It has guided travellers and sailors for centuries, but Polaris hasn’t always been the North Star and it won’t be forever. The “Pole Star” is simply a title, because as the earth wobbles on its axis, our relative view will slowly change. Thuban in the constellation of Draco was the last Pole star, from 3942–1793 BC, and the next will likely be Gamma Cephei in 3000 AD.