Capturing both north stars

Capturing both north stars

Polaris is our North star, but thousands of years ago it was Vega.  Astrophotographer Miguel Claro took these photos to show what it's like now, and what it was like with Vega as our North star.

First, let's start with why our North star changes.  The Earth's axis isn't perfect. It "wobbles" while the Earth rotates, and essentially changes every 26,000 years. The "wobble" is called axial precession, and it's mostly caused by the gravitational pull of both the Moon and Sun.


Now on to the shots taken by Miguel Claro.  Claro mounted his camera on two clock drives, and focused one on Polaris and the other on Vega.  The drives rotate opposite the spin of the Earth, to show where the stars center-up in the photo.  The long exposure gives the stars the streaking-look.

Here's what he had to say on
"After a long time of burning my mind with new ideas," says Claro. "I figured out how I could do it, developing what I think is, a totally new astrophotographic technique." 

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