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Sky Map: The Northern Sky

Usually visible from northern latitudes

The northern sky revolves around the star Polaris at the tail of Ursa Minor, the Lesser Bear. This Pole Star falls conveniently close to the Northern Celestial Pole, making it useful in navigation. Around the Lesser Bear snakes the sinuous form of Draco the Dragon, and southward of the Dragon is the distinctive shape of the Plough or Big Dipper in Ursa Major.

Across the Pole from Ursa Major is another highly distinctive star-pattern: the unmistakable 'W' shape made by the five brightest stars of Cassiopeia. An imaginary line across the two end stars of Cassiopeia's 'W' leads towards the brightest star in this part of the sky: Capella in Auriga, which is the sixth brightest star in the entire sky.