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Prophetic? Polaris—the North Star—is Getting Brighter, Surprises Astronomers

One might muse that even as the world seems darker, True North is shining brighter than ever!

PolarisThe North Star, or "Polaris" as it is known to astronomers, has guided many a star-gazer with its constant mark of true north. (Photo via Fox News)

Unlike the other stars that—because of the Earth's rotation—rise in the east and set in the west, Polaris seems to stay put, seemingly unmoving, like the hub of a wheel.

Now though, the North Star has been capturing the attention of astronomers as it is reportedly becoming dramatically brighter.

It's not the first time that Polaris' intensity has changed—in the 1990s, scientists noted that its brightness was declining, according to a FOX News report.

However, beginning around 2000, the North Star started to intensify once again.

Scott Engle, of Villanova University in Pennsylvania remarked to SPACE.com that "It was unexpected to find."

PolarisSaid the researchers, "Polaris is arguably the best-known star in the Northern Hemisphere, since it lies within a degree of the North Celestial Pole. For much of human history, Polaris was highly regarded for its unchanging nature. (Photo via Daily Mail)

"However, we now know that Polaris is a Cepheid variable, undergoing ultra-low-amplitude pulsations. We started photometrically monitoring Polaris in 1999 and discovered that the amplitude of pulsations had reached a minimum and was now, in fact, growing again."

"It started increasing rather rapidly," Engle added.

In fact, according to the Daily Mail report, the Pole Star is "expanding at more than 100 times the rate they expected, and nobody is sure why."

Researchers are calling it a "remarkable rate of change."







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