For this week’s Starwatch, you can use the Big Dipper to find the North Star and the Little Dipper.
After sunset, look for the Big Dipper in the lower northeast sky. Next, look for the two outer stars in the bowl of the Big Dipper. From the bowl, look in a straight line outward (above the bowl). These two stars, named Dubhe and Merak, are known as The Pointers to astronomers. This will lead you to the North Star, or Polaris. The North Star is within the Little Dipper.
Keep in mind, the Big Dipper is not a constellation. It is a recognizable pattern called an asterism. The Big Dipper is part of the constellation Ursa Major and the Little Dipper is part of the constellation Ursa Minor.
Thanks to EarthSky