|| Starpath online classroom || Celestial Navigation Glossary || Glossary Index || Home ||

A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z 
Navigational Stars

These are the 57 stars listed in the Nautical Almanac as Selected Stars, meaning the ones they choose to list on the daily pages. Besides the daily pages, the list is presented on the Index to Selected stars, page xxxiii, and on the yellow card bookmark to the Almanac, which includes their brightness. The Selected Stars Index lists them two ways, once alphabetical, the other by their unique number. Some cel nav apps use their unique number for star ID. These are bright stars, magnitude 1 or 2, but they are not chosen by brightness alone, but rather selected uniformly around the sky so that several of them will be in view at all times from any location. Polaris is notably not on that list, though it is used routinely for navigation.

There are another 116 stars listed in the back of the Almanac that do not show up on the daily pages. That full list (174 stars) includes the navigational stars, and is presented in a unique manner. The first half of the year (January to June) lists the stars by their "Greek letter name" (Bayer designation) i.e., Alpha Canis Majoris, whereas from July to December they are listed by their proper names, ie Spica. This can be an important nuance to know when it comes to some star ID questions. All navigational stars have a proper name.

[close window]