Proper Motions in the Big Dipper Movie

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This movie shows the appearance of the Big Dipper (Ursa Major) for a 200,000 year period between 100,000 BC and 100,000 AD demonstrating the proper motion of the stars. All stars down to 6.5 magnitude are shown, and the timestep is 1000 years. Most of the bright stars making up the familiar constellation of the Big Dipper are part of a moving group, and can clearly be seen to be moving together towards the East (left on the frame) over time. Watch for very fast moving stars that cross the field over the 200,000 year period of this animation.

This image shows the motion as arrows, the length of each is the amount the star would move between today and 50,000 years in the future. Notice how there are some patterns to the motion among the fainter and brighter stars. The statistics of stellar motions can give us important clues to the overall dynamics of the local Galaxy.

Return to the Lecture 6 (Motions)
Go to the Unit 1 Index
Prof. Richard Pogge (

Updated: 2007 November 3 [rwp]

Copyright Richard W. Pogge, All Rights Reserved.