is it odd for the big dipper to be located directly overhead in the eastern united states?

7 Answers

  • Bill-M
    Lv 7
    2 years ago

    Being in the Eastern United States does not make any difference. It would be directly overhead in England also. It all depends on your Latitude. The Further North you are the higher it is. The Further South you go the lower it gets. When you go down to Sydney Australia you can't see it at all.

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  • 2 years ago

    The celestial latitude of the Big Dipper is 55 to 60 N. It is NEVER directly overhead in the eastern United States, whose northernmost extent is around latitude 48N.

    I stand partly corrected: ONE star of the Big Dipper (the "end" of the handle) is at a celestial latitude of 49+, so could possibly be seen right overhead from some US location outside Alaska.

    Anyway, the second-southern star of the Big Dipper is at 54 deg, 55 min, so will never be seen right overhead in the US (other than Alaska) -- so there is no chance whatsoever of seeing "the Big Dipper" CENTERED overhead from the northeastern US.

  • 2 years ago

    It is impossible. It revolvers around the north star so can not be "directly overhead." If you are 41 degrees north latitude it never goes below the horizon and at points south of that, it can never be OVERHEAD.

  • 2 years ago

    The location doesn't matter that much unless you mean absolutely directly above, and then the only thing that matters is how far north you are, not how east or west you are. The Big Dipper has a declination of about 50 degrees (it covers a large area so individual stars have specific angles that are close to 50 degrees north of the ecliptic, the imaginary plane that the equator is on on the first day of spring and first day of fall). What this means is that the big dipper could be overhead for anyone at about 50 degrees north, but since the earth axis is inclined about 22 degrees or so, the range of latitudes that could have big dipper right above will be from about 30 to about 70 depending on the time of year. The question is only whether that overhead location will occur at night (when we can see it) or not.

    For those of us in the northern US (45-50 degrees north), it is likely that we could see the Big Dipper directly overhead in either the fall or the spring. My star ap on my phone indicates that it would be roughly overhead somewhere about 9:30 PM for me today. The local time would be the same for you unless you aren't on daylight savings time. then you need to adjust an hour.

    If you could see it right now (about 9:30 AM where I am in the US Eastern Time Zone), it would be low in the sky almost directly north. You cannot see it of course because of daylight washing out the stars.

    • Morningfox
      Lv 7
      2 years agoReport

      The Earth's orbit inclination doesn't affect how far stars are from the Celestial North Pole.

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  • 2 years ago

    It depends on exactly what you mean by "overhead" and "eastern United States". The southernmost star of the Big Dipper is Alkaid, at declination +49 degrees 18 minutes 48 seconds. The most northern point in Maine is at latitude 47 d 27.59 m, so it's not far enough north for Alkaid to be DIRECTLY (90 degrees) overhead. The most northern point in Minnesota is at 49 d 23 m, so it just barely qualifies (by less than half a degree)! Minnesota is in the eastern half of the continental U.S., but most people don't consider it as "eastern".

  • 2 years ago

    No. It moves and over centuries the stars will change positions

  • 2 years ago

    Yes this is Big

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