G. BACON / NASA / ESA / STSCI / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY G. BACON / NASA / ESA / STSCI / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Polaris triple star system, artwork. The Hubble Space Telescope (HST) has confirmed that Polaris (the North Star, also called Alpha Ursae Minoris) is a triple star system. The star seen from Earth is the large one at bottom centre in this artwork. It is called Polaris A, and is a bright supergiant variable star. The small dot immediately above Polaris A is Polaris Ab, and orbits 2 billion kilometres from Polaris A. The small dot at upper centre is Polaris B, which orbits 240 billion kilometres from the other two stars. Polaris B is visible in telescopes, but this is the first time Polaris Ab has been seen. The Polaris system is 430 light years from Earth, in the constellation Ursa Minor. The results were published in January 2006.
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