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Star Clock Template Generator

version (19.6 KB) by Meg Noah
Estimate the time at night by observing the Big Dipper and the Little Dipper


Updated 25 Dec 2017

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In the northern hemisphere, the time of day can be estimated from the positions of the big dipper and little dipper. This script creates a template for creating a polar azimuthal equidistant projection planisphere of the circumpolar stars for midlatitudes in the northern hemisphere. Determining the time from stars is a good activity for K12, community college, astronomy clubs, and other outreach. Hope you enjoy this activity.
Note: The Star and Constellation Data is available online at: Dan Bruton,SFA Observatory,,
Although you need a clear night sky to tell the time at night, you can practice using Vincent van Gogh’s Starry Night over the Rhone was painted in September 1888 in France. Use the star clock to estimate the time.  Then check your answer:

Cite As

Meg Noah (2022). Star Clock Template Generator (, MATLAB Central File Exchange. Retrieved .

MATLAB Release Compatibility
Created with R2014b
Compatible with any release
Platform Compatibility
Windows macOS Linux

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