Question #18 – What is a circumpolar constellation?
A circumpolar constellation is a constellation that never sets below the horizon as viewed from a location on Earth. In the northern hemisphere, the stars and constellations appear to move in a circle, counterclockwise around the "fixed" North Star, Polaris. At mid-northern latitudes (40º to 50º North) the circumpolar constellations are:
- Ursa Major (The Great Bear)
- Ursa Minor (The Lesser Bear)
- Draco (The Dragon)
- Cepheus (The King)
- Cassiopeia (The Queen)
- Camelopardalis (The Giraffe)
More information about circumpolar constellations in the northern and southern hemisphere can be found in this article at Constellation Guide.
Circumpolar constellations visible from mid-northern latitudes (Image created using Starry Night Pro Plus 8)
Click to view a movie showing the motion of the circumpolar constellations from sunset to sunrise, sped up 3000x (Image created using Starry Night Pro Plus 8)