If you can find the Big Dipper in the northern sky in mid to late evening tonight, you can find the North Star, Polaris. The Big Dipper will be low in the northeast sky, but it’ll climb upward during the evening hours, to reach its high point for the night in the wee hours after midnight.
The Big Dipper isn’t a constellation. Instead, it’s an asterism, just a recognizable pattern of stars on the sky’s dome. It’s part of the constellation Ursa Major, the Greater Bear.
A well-known trick for finding the North Star, or Polaris, is that the two outermost stars in the bowl of the Big Dipper point to Polaris. Those stars are Dubhe and Merak. They are well known among amateur astronomers as The Pointers.
Can’t find the Big Dipper? Yes, you can!
It really does look like a dipper, and it’s pretty bright. You just have to look for it at a time when it’s visible. And that’ll be tonight, and for many nights to come over the coming weeks and months … in the north in mid-evening. Once you find the Big Dipper, use the pointer stars to find Polaris, the North Star.