Department of Energy Argonne National Laboratory Office of Science NEWTON's Homepage NEWTON's Homepage
NEWTON, Ask A Scientist!
NEWTON Home Page NEWTON Teachers Visit Our Archives Ask A Question How To Ask A Question Question of the Week Our Expert Scientists Volunteer at NEWTON! Frequently Asked Questions Referencing NEWTON About NEWTON About Ask A Scientist Education At Argonne Distance to the Big Dipper Stars
Name: S Sample
Status: Other
Age: N/A
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: N/A 


Question:
What is the distance from Earth of the stars that make up the Big Dipper constellation?



Replies:
This information comes from my World Almanac. The distance to the main stars of the Big Dipper ranges from about 68 light-years (ly) to about 210 light-years (ly), as shown here:

        * <-- 88 ly
   210 ly --> *   
           
                  * <-- 68 ly
             
                      *     * <-- 105 ly
              
            90 ly --> *     * <-- 78 ly


Most of these stars do actually belong to a single open star cluster (I do not think the 210 ly one belongs, though). The stars of a given constella- tion need not have any physical relationship to each other. They may be vast distances apart; we simply associate them because they happen to be in the same general direction, from our viewpoint.

RC Winther


Click here to return to the Astronomy Archives

NEWTON is an electronic community for Science, Math, and Computer Science K-12 Educators, sponsored and operated by Argonne National Laboratory's Educational Programs, Andrew Skipor, Ph.D., Head of Educational Programs.

For assistance with NEWTON contact a System Operator (help@newton.dep.anl.gov), or at Argonne's Educational Programs

NEWTON AND ASK A SCIENTIST
Educational Programs
Building 360
9700 S. Cass Ave.
Argonne, Illinois
60439-4845, USA
Update: June 2012
Weclome To Newton

Argonne National Laboratory