Artist's Concept of Polaris System - Annotated

Artist's Concept of Polaris System - Annotated

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Fast Facts
News release ID: STScI-2006-02
Release Date: Jan 9, 2006
Image Use: Copyright
About this image

This is a view from within the Polaris triple star system. The North Star, Polaris A is a bright supergiant variable star.

Just above Polaris is a small companion, Polaris Ab, which is 2 billion miles from Polaris. Much farther away, near the top of the illustration, is the wide companion Polaris B. Polaris B is located approximately 240 billion miles from Polaris A. The two companion stars are the same temperature as Polaris A, but are dwarf stars.

The wide companion star is visible in small telescopes. It was first noticed by William Herschel in 1780. The close companion, Polaris Ab was known to exist from measurements of a wobble in Polaris, caused by the gravitational tug of its companion, but has only been seen directly now using Hubble.

Artwork, Binary Stars, Stars


Credit: NASA, ESA, G. Bacon (STScI)