The North Celestial Pole from my Backyard

June 11, 2023

A star trails view of the NCP (North Celestial Pole) from my backyard, five hours of 15-second exposures stacked together to show the Earth's rotation. That star in the middle is the North Star, Polaris, the star at the end of the handle in the Little Dipper asterism. Polaris is very close to the NCP, only 4 degrees off the actual point in space that marks our planet's North Celestial Pole. Basically, if you're standing in a fixed position on the surface (say, in coastal New Hampshire at around 43° latitude) and draw an imaginary line along Earth's axis of rotation, out into space, until you reach a single point in space--that's the celestial pole, and from your perspective, all stars will rotate around that point. In the southern hemisphere, looking south, you have the SCP, South Celestial Pole, which doesn't have a bright star in close proximity--so imagine this image without that bright point of light in the center.

What is also interesting in this image is that stars have color. Blue stars "burn" hotter and faster, redder stars are generally cooler and longer-lived. Our star, the Sun, is somewhere between, a medium-sized main sequence star about halfway through its 11-billion-ish year lifespan. 

Notes: 1104 x 15-second exposures, Sony A7s, Irix 15mm f/2.4 lens, stacked in StarStax.