Problem: Surveying Astronomy: Observations of Polaris

The positions of Polaris at which it appears to reach the maximum east and west extents of its path around the northern celestial pole are called by which names?

(A) eastern and western extension
(B) upper and lower elongation
(C) eastern and western parallactics
(D) eastern and western elongation

This is problem 65(4-36) from the new second edition of 1001 Solved Surveying Problems by Jan Van Sickle. Reprinted with permission from 1001 Solved Surveying Problems by Jan Van Sickle (1997, 728 pp., Professional Publications Inc.). For details on this and other FLS exam-prep books, call 800/426-1178 or visit

Answer: D

Eastern and western elongation are the names given to the farthest east and west positions of the path of Polaris around the north celestial pole. However, it is not correct to say that the altitude of Polaris when it reaches elongation is equal to that of the north celestial pole. Polaris at elongation is slightly higher than the elevation of the north celestial pole from an observer’s point of view.