polestar

/pohl"stahr'/, n.
1. Polaris.
2. something that serves as a guiding principle.
3. something that is the center of attention or attraction.
[1545-55; POLE2 + STAR]

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also spelled  pole star , also called (Northern Hemisphere)  North Star 
 the brightest star that appears nearest to either celestial pole at any particular time. Owing to the precession of the equinoxes (equinoxes, precession of the), the position of each pole describes a small circle in the sky over a period of 25,800 years. Each of a succession of stars has thus passed near enough to the north celestial pole to serve as the polestar. At present the polestar is Polaris (α Ursae Minoris); Thuban (α Draconis) was closest to the North Pole about 2700 BCE, and the bright star Vega (α Lyrae) will be the star closest to the pole in 14,000 CE. The location of the northern polestar has made it a convenient object for navigators to use in determining latitude and north-south direction in the Northern Hemisphere. There is no bright star near the south celestial pole; the present southern polestar, σ Octantis, is only of the 5th magnitude and is thus barely visible to the naked eye.

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Universalium. 2010.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Polestar — Pole star , n. 1. Polaris, or the north star. See {North star}, under {North}. [1913 Webster] 2. A guide or director. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • polestar — [pōl′stär΄] n. 1. Polaris, the North Star: usually Pole Star 2. a guiding principle 3. a center of attraction …   English World dictionary

  • polestar — North North, a. Lying toward the north; situated at the north, or in a northern direction from the point of observation or reckoning; proceeding toward the north, or coming from the north. [1913 Webster] {North following}. See {Following}, a., 2 …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • polestar — noun Date: 1555 1. North Star 2. a. a directing principle ; guide b. a center of attraction …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • polestar — Synonyms and related words: Aldebaran, Canicula, Dog Star, Hesper, Hesperus, Lucifer, North Star, Phosphor, Phosphorus, Polaris, Sirius, Venus, Vesper, artificial magnet, bar magnet, celestial body, center of attraction, center of consciousness,… …   Moby Thesaurus

  • polestar — I (New American Roget s College Thesaurus) n. lodestar, Polaris; guide; magnet, cynosure. See attraction, direction. II (Roget s IV) n. Syn. Polaris, guide, north star; see star 1 …   English dictionary for students

  • polestar — n. North Star, star that is visually located near the North Pole, Polaris …   English contemporary dictionary

  • polestar — n. 1. North star, polar star, loadstar, Polaris. 2. Guide, cynosure, guiding star …   New dictionary of synonyms

  • polestar — pole•star [[t]ˈpoʊlˌstɑr[/t]] n. 1) astron. Polaris 2) something that serves as a guiding principle • Etymology: 1545–55 …   From formal English to slang

  • polestar — n. 1 Astron. a star in Ursa Minor now about 1° distant from the celestial north pole. 2 a a thing or principle serving as a guide. b a centre of attraction …   Useful english dictionary

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