Welcome to
Ward's Web Pages
Home Songs Brain Teasers Games & Puzzles Funny Stories Other Stuff Contact Me

Which Way is South?

It is commonly known that the "front" two stars of the Big Dipper line up in such a way as to point "upwards" (thinking of the Big Dipper as an actual dipper of that would hold water) toward the north star and therefore toward the north (approximately), at least in terms of how we see it from Earth. Thinking of this phenomenon in the same frame of reference (as we see it from Earth), if you follow the line of the same two stars "downwards" (in the opposite direction), does it point to the south?


Yes, at one point during each night (or day). If you watch the sky over the course of a night you would note that the North Star (also called Polaris) appears to stay (almost) stationary in the sky and the other stars rotate around it. (Of course, the stars do not rotate. It is actually the earth which is rotating, causing it to appear that way to us.) So there will be one point in each one day period at which the stars have rotated around to the point where these two stars would appear to us to point toward the south. (Whether you actually get to see it, of course, would depend upon whether the sun is "up" at that point in time or not.)