NGC 6543 is 4. 4 minutes of arc from the current position of the north ecliptic pole, Less than 1⁄10 of the 45 arc minutes between Polaris and the current location of the Earth’s northern axis of rotation. It is a convenient and accurate marker for the axis of rotation of the Earth’s ecliptic, around which the celestial North Pole rotates. It is also a good marker for the nearby “invariable” axis of the solar system, which is the center of the circles which every planet’s north pole, and the north pole of every planet’s orbit, make in the sky. Since motion in the sky of the ecliptic pole is very slow compared to the motion of the Earth’s north pole, its position as an ecliptic pole station marker is essentially permanent on the time-scale of human history, as opposed to the Pole Star, which changes every few thousand years.
The largest, shining object in Earth's starlit night sky, our Moon has long been the source of mystery, myth, and poetry--a captivating inspiration for those who stare at the sky in wonder. But Earth's Moon is a very real object--the only body beyond our own planet that we have actually set foot upon, leaving our lingering footprints in its distant, alien dust. Earth's Moon has been with us almost from the very beginning, and even though it is our planet's closest companion in space, it has nonetheless managed to keep some of its ancient secrets very well. In September 2015, astronomers released a new study that shed light on Earth's bewitching companion's ancient and secretive past. Although our Moon now appears to be unchanging, as if it has always been exactly the same as it appears now--going through its beautiful and, yet, familiar phases, and controlling our ocean tides--in the distant past, things were actually very different. Beneath The Icy Crust Of Enceladus. The research paper written by scientists with the Cassini mission, published in the journal Science, suggests the presence of hydrogen gas. Hydrogen gas, that could potentially provide a chemical energy source for life, is pouring into the subsurface ocean of Enceladus from hydrothermal activity on the seafloor of this bewitching, distant moon-world. "Cassini's seven-plus years... have shown us how beautifully dynamic and unexpected the Saturn system is," commented project scientist Dr. Linda Spilker of NASA's JPL to Time Magazine's online edition on March 23, 2012.