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Learning to Navigate Polaris

students studying altitude on football field thumbnail208346
Middle school students enrolled in Marissa St. Louis’s honors earth science class have gained a new perspective on the night sky. During a recent class, the students learned about the relationship between the altitude of Polaris, commonly known as the North Star, and a person’s latitude on Earth.

The North Star is an important navigational reference point?used for centuries,” Ms. Louis said. “It is the relationship between a person's location on Earth and it's altitude in the night sky that has allowed people to utilize it to determine where they are.”?

Ms. Louis continued to explain that as a person travels from a lower latitude to a higher one, they are moving underneath the North Star, which makes it appear to increase its altitude in the sky. The students were trying to replicate this relationship by moving across a football field and observing how the altitude of the goal post changed as they moved underneath it.
Bayport-Blue Point Eagle