We use cookies to deliver essential features and to measure their performance. By using this site you accept our Privacy Policies.
A Complete Guide to the Solar System and the Night Sky
Donate now and help us to keep this site free and ad-free!
public Observing fromLocation: Greenwich, United Kingdom edit_location_alt
north SunriseRise: 7:37  
clear_day Transit: 11:46  
SunsetSet: 15:55 south
wb_twilight Astronomical TwilightWhat's Visible Now?
All Constellations » Ursa Minor » 

Pherkad - γ Ursae Minoris (gamma Ursae Minoris)

Altitude: 46.1°   Azimuth: 333.5°   Direction: North-North-West

Pherkad, also designated as γ Ursae Minoris (gamma Ursae Minoris), is a variable bright giant star in the constellation of Ursa Minor.

Pherkad visual magnitude is 3.05. Because of its moderate brightness, Pherkad should be easily visible from locations with dark skyes, while it can be barely visible, or not visible at all, from skyes affected by light pollution.

The table below summarizes the key facts about Pherkad:

Bright giant

Pherkad - γ Ursae Minoris (gamma Ursae Minoris) is above the horizon from Greenwich, United Kingdom edit_location_alt.

Altitude: 46.1°
Azimuth: 333.5°
Direction: North-North-West

Celestial coordinates and finder chart of Pherkad

Pherkad is situated close to the northern celestial pole and, as such, it is visible for most part of the year from the northern hemisphere. Celestial coordinates for the J2000 equinox as well as galactic coordinates of Pherkad are provided in the following table:

15h 20m 43s
+71° 50’ 02”
Ursa Minor

The simplified sky map below shows the position of Pherkad in the sky:

Finder chart Pherkad - γ Ursae Minoris (gamma Ursae Minoris) star
Simplified finder chart for Pherkad - γ Ursae Minoris (gamma Ursae Minoris).

Visibility of Pherkad from your location

Location: Greenwich, United Kingdom edit_location_alt
Latitude: 51° 28’ 47” N
Longitude: 0° 00’ 00” E
Timezone: Europe/London

Pherkad - γ Ursae Minoris (gamma Ursae Minoris) is circumpolar and transits at 10:52 UTC (altitude: 69.6°)

Digitized Sky Survey image of Pherkad

The image below is a photograph of Pherkad from the Digitized Sky Survey 2 (DSS2 - see the credits section) taken in the red channel. The area of sky represented in the image is 0.5x0.5 degrees (30x30 arcmins). The proper motion of Pherkad is -0.019 arcsec per year in Right Ascension and 0.02 arcsec per year in Declination and the associated displacement for the next 10000 years is represented with the red arrow.

Image of Pherkad - γ Ursae Minoris (gamma Ursae Minoris) star
DSS2 image of Pherkad. The red arrow shows the motion of Pherkad during the next 10000 years (-3.17 arcmin in Right Ascension and 3.33 arcmin in declination);

Distance of Pherkad from the Sun and relative movement

Pherkad is distant 480.12 light years from the Sun and it is moving towards the Sun at the speed of 4 kilometers per second.

147.28 pc
480.12 ly
-4 km/s
-0.019 arcsec/year
0.02 arcsec/year

Spectral properties of Pherkad

Pherkad belongs to spectral class A3 and has a luminosity class of II corresponding to a bright giant star.


The red dot in the diagram below shows where Pherkad is situated in the Hertzsprung–Russell diagram.

HR Diagram
H-R diagram showing the position of Pherkad. Attribution: Richard Powell / CC BY-SA

Alternative designations of Pherkad

γ Ursae Minoris
(gamma Ursae Minoris)
13 Ursae Minoris