Polaris is a star in the northern circumpolar constellation of Ursa Minor. It is designated α Ursae Minoris and is commonly called the North Star or Pole Star. With an apparent magnitude that fluctuates around 1.98, it is the brightest star in the constellation and is readily visible to the naked eye at night. The position of the star lies less than 1° away from the north celestial pole, making it the current northern pole star. The stable position of the star in the Northern Sky makes it useful for navigation. As the closest Cepheid variable its distance is used as part of the cosmic distance ladder. The revised Hipparcos stellar parallax gives a distance to Polaris of about 433 light-years, while the successor mission Gaia gives a distance of about 447.6 light-years. Calculations by other methods vary widely.

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