What is the axial orientation of Polaris with respect to the Earth? Answered

So... I know the Earth's axis of rotation currently points (roughly) at Polaris, the North Star. (which, of course, is why we can navigate by it here on Terra Firma).  I also know that Polaris is about ~500 ly from us,  has a rotational period (hence an axis), that it's a transitional Cepheid (sp) (a star that varies between a larger, brighter state and a smaller, denser one) , that it has at least two l known, low-output companion stars, and that since the ~1940s it has undergone visible changes in its rotational period and its output. My excuse and reason  for asking... First, I did google it. Either no one has asked the question(doubtful), it can't really be determined with our present level of science (could be, idk), or I just didn't use the right search  terms to find the answer (the usual culprit ime) , but in any case, after an off and on search that's spanned the past ~year, I think it's time I ask. Secondly, the inspiration. I enjoy amateur astronomy.  However, time and equipment and location often limit my grand delusions for the next "Citizen challenges Hubble with stunning new photo of Zeta p3044-a!" award hahahaha.  But the real problem is most often because of my mid-level scope's somewhat limited ability (in comparison to a German equatorial mount) to track consistently and smoothly, and as a result, Polaris becomes an easy target when I get frustrated with the scopes performance on a given night (sometimes it does track brilliantly... for a stepper-driven alt-z, but only sometimes and even then only to the limits of the steps) because the only thing the scope has to track when pointed at the North Star is rotation, which it seems to handle better than both directions of movement (probably needs a new gear or the motor is wearing or my expectations are simply higher than that of my equipment ...). Of course, I also quite often choose to shoot Polaris when conditions are such that it's the only viable target (for instance, when I'm stuck imaging from my backyard, I have a postage stamp size hole that happens to point at Polaris... which of course basically "doesn't move", pretty much everything else is shrouded by century old, 8-100 ft tall forest during the warmer months, and when I can't drive out to a more suitable location, it's a lucky night when everything is "right", I can even align the mount (it uses a goto controller that requires a 3 star alignment for tracking with any accuracy). So Polaris is a no-brainer, (take some images for arts sake, fine tune the in-situ collimation, data-reduction test sets, etc.) . Either that or do something else...  Anyway, as a result of all of this, I'm found myself enjoying the simplicity of shooting the North Star and the area around it, and having fun with image processing and even optical train modifications to further the artistic side. And I've read a few articles about it's variability and the ~relatively significant changes in its behavior that have been occurring during the past 50 years that got me to thinking What I'm wondering is that when I image Polaris, am I looking at it "on its side?", "on axis?", or at some other viewing angle? Not that I'm going to be able to literally "view it on its side" or something, since optically imaging the star beyond that roughly of a point-source isn't practical, but just to know, since the darned question won't get out of my head. (been asking it for the past year quietly to myself and google. I hate to think how many cumulative hours I've spent at it...) thanks!

Question by seandogue   |  last reply