Cause of North Star's decreasing mass revealed
Washington: Researchers at the University of Bonn in Germany believe they have unlocked the answer to the North Star's decreasing mass.
The North Star, the Pole Star, the Guiding Star, Polaris: Its many names reflect the many centuries humans have gazed northward to it for guidance.
However, recent studies have shown that the North Star is losing mass at a significant rate.
Now, Hilding Neilson of the Argelander Institute of Astronomy at the University of Bonn in Germany thinks that he and his colleagues have found the reason why its mass is decreasing.
Although the North Star's peculiar alignment with the Earth's North Pole makes it seem motionless, the North Star actually pulsates, varying daily in size and luminosity.
Neilson and his colleagues said that that the lengthening of these pulses may hold the key to Polaris's enhanced mass loss.
This finding appeared in the May issue of EARTH Magazine.