Circumpolar star definition: the stars that remain perpetually above horizon.

My explanation: Latitude affects the constellation we see and Polaris(the North star) has altitude of approximately 89.4 degree. For example, in Miami(25 degree latitude) the Polaris is 90-25=65 degree above horizon. This means that for any city above equator, people are able to see the Polaris.

My explanation is verbose and probably incorrect. Could someone provide a valid one?

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    $\begingroup$ Polaris is at the zenith at the north pole. Thus, as the Earth revolves around its axis, Polaris' position won't change - it is directly above the point from which Earth rotates. $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 15, 2016 at 21:24
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    $\begingroup$ Altitude is the angle above the horizon. The angle north of the celestial equator (~89 degrees for Polaris) is declination. $\endgroup$
    – Mike G
    Commented Sep 16, 2016 at 21:59

1 Answer 1


In Miami, Polaris will be approx 25 degrees above the horizon, not 65. Height above the horizon is equal to the latitude of the observer. At the North Pole, Polaris is very nearly directly overhead, all the time, because the Earth's axis of rotation points very nearly towards it.

Due to precession, Polaris will not always be so close to where the Earth's axis points.


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