List of selected stars for navigation

navigational starsnavigation star150 stars58 starsa list of stars used for celestial navigationselected stars for navigation
Fifty-eight selected navigational stars are given a special status in the field of celestial navigation.wikipedia
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Celestial navigation

astronavigationnavigationcelestial
Fifty-eight selected navigational stars are given a special status in the field of celestial navigation.
The Sun is most commonly used, but navigators can also use the Moon, a planet, Polaris, or one of 57 other navigational stars whose coordinates are tabulated in the nautical almanac and air almanacs.

Polaris

North Starpole starNorthern Star
The star Polaris, often called the "North Star", is treated specially due to its proximity to the north celestial pole.
Polaris was referenced in Nathaniel Bowditch's 1802 book, American Practical Navigator, where it is listed as one of the navigational stars.

Rigel

Beta Orionisβ Ori (Rigel)β Orionis
Rigel is a prominent equatorial navigation star, being easily located and readily visible in all the world's oceans (the exception is the area within 8° of the North Pole).

Alnilam

Epsilon Orionisε Oriε Ori (Alnilam)
It is also one of the 58 stars used in celestial navigation.

Lambda Velorum

SuhailSohailλ Velorum
It bore the traditional Arabic name السهيل الوزن suhayl al-wazn (Al Suhail al Wazn), but as a modern navigation star this was shortened to Suhail.

Epsilon Ursae Majoris

Aliothε UMaAllioth
Historically, the star was frequently used in celestial navigation in the maritime trade, because it is listed as one of the 57 navigational stars.

Bellatrix

Gamma Orionisγ Oriγ Orionis
Bellatrix is one of the four navigational stars in Orion that are used for celestial navigation.

Epsilon Carinae

Aviorε Carε Carinae
Of the fifty-seven navigation stars included in the new almanac, two had no classical names: Epsilon Carinae and Alpha Pavonis.

Star

starsstellarmassive star
Fifty-eight selected navigational stars are given a special status in the field of celestial navigation.

Naked eye

naked-eyeunaided eyenaked human eye
Of the approximately 6,000 stars visible to the naked eye under optimal conditions, the selected stars are among the brightest and span 38 constellations of the celestial sphere from the declination of −70° to +89°.

Constellation

constellationsEuropean constellationModern constellation
Of the approximately 6,000 stars visible to the naked eye under optimal conditions, the selected stars are among the brightest and span 38 constellations of the celestial sphere from the declination of −70° to +89°. In addition to tables, star charts provide an aid to the navigator in identifying the navigational stars, showing constellations, relative positions, and brightness.

Celestial sphere

celestialcelestial hemispherehemisphere
Of the approximately 6,000 stars visible to the naked eye under optimal conditions, the selected stars are among the brightest and span 38 constellations of the celestial sphere from the declination of −70° to +89°.

Declination

DecDec.declinations
Of the approximately 6,000 stars visible to the naked eye under optimal conditions, the selected stars are among the brightest and span 38 constellations of the celestial sphere from the declination of −70° to +89°.

Ancient history

antiquityancientancient world
Many of the selected stars were named in antiquity by the Babylonians, Greeks, Romans, and Arabs.

Babylonia

BabyloniansBabylonianBabylonian Empire
Many of the selected stars were named in antiquity by the Babylonians, Greeks, Romans, and Arabs.

Celestial pole

North Celestial Polesouth celestial polecelestial north pole
The star Polaris, often called the "North Star", is treated specially due to its proximity to the north celestial pole.

Northern Hemisphere

NorthernNorth HemisphereNorthern Hemispheric
When navigating in the Northern Hemisphere, special techniques can be used with Polaris to determine latitude or gyrocompass error.

Latitude

latitudesSouthlatitudinal
When navigating in the Northern Hemisphere, special techniques can be used with Polaris to determine latitude or gyrocompass error.

Gyrocompass

gyro compassgyroscopic compassgyro compasses
When navigating in the Northern Hemisphere, special techniques can be used with Polaris to determine latitude or gyrocompass error.

Nautical almanac

almanacnavigational almanacsNavigational ephemeris tables
The other 57 selected stars have daily positions given in nautical almanacs, aiding the navigator in efficiently performing observations on them.

Second mate

Second Officersecond2nd Mate
The other 57 selected stars have daily positions given in nautical almanacs, aiding the navigator in efficiently performing observations on them.

Star chart

star mapstar chartscelestial chart
In addition to tables, star charts provide an aid to the navigator in identifying the navigational stars, showing constellations, relative positions, and brightness.

HM Nautical Almanac Office

Her Majesty's Nautical Almanac OfficeNautical Almanac OfficeNautical Almanac
The selection of the stars is made by Her Majesty's Nautical Almanac Office and the US Naval Observatory, in the production of the yearly Nautical Almanac which the two organizations have published jointly since 1958.

United States Naval Observatory

U.S. Naval ObservatoryUS Naval ObservatoryNaval Observatory
The selection of the stars is made by Her Majesty's Nautical Almanac Office and the US Naval Observatory, in the production of the yearly Nautical Almanac which the two organizations have published jointly since 1958.

The Nautical Almanac

Nautical AlmanacNautical Almanac and Astronomical Ephemeris ''Nautical Almanac
The selection of the stars is made by Her Majesty's Nautical Almanac Office and the US Naval Observatory, in the production of the yearly Nautical Almanac which the two organizations have published jointly since 1958.