A lodestar is a relatively bright, easily found, star that is used to find direction, particularly with reference to Polaris, which during the 20th and 21st centuries indicates the direction to the north within a fraction of a degree. (Due to the slow precession of the Earth's axis, this is not a permanent relationship).

The component "lode" is etymologically related to the verb "to lead" – lodestars serve as a guide to navigators, as do lodestones, naturally magnetic stones historically used in compasses. The lodestar Polaris in particular is an essential element of the definition of the Cardinal directions used in modern cartography and compasses.

Lodestones can be used to approximately find the northern direction, and are particularly convenient when the stars are not visible. Due to uneven magnetic deviation a lodestone can be significantly less accurate than a lodestar.

In a figurative sense, "lodestar" can mean anything that acts as a guide, inspiration, or example to follow. An example is Comrade general Kim Jong Il, whom the North Korean government likes to regard as "an invincible military commander, prodigious humanist and lodestar of the 21st century."

The lodestar is present on many of those flags of African nations that use the Pan-African colors. In this context, it represents the ideal of (African) freedom.Fact|date=August 2007

See also

*sextant - a tool used by navigators to deduce their location from observations of lodestars

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  • Lodestar — est un groupe de musique. Historique Après le succès de l album Stacked up de Senser, des divergences voient le jour au sein du groupe, qui se concluent par une séparation. Le chanteur et le batteur partent former Lodestar de leur côté.… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • lodestar — lode·star / lōd ˌstär/ n [perhaps from the notion of the lodestar as a guiding light or principle]: the amount obtained by multiplying the reasonable amount of hours spent by an attorney working on a case by the reasonable hourly billing rate for …   Law dictionary

  • Lodestar — Lode star , n. Same as {Loadstar}. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • lodestar — late 14c. (late 13c. as a surname), an old name for the pole star (Cf. O.N. leiðarstjarna) as the star that leads the way in navigation; from LODE (Cf. lode) (n.) + STAR (Cf. star) (n.). Figurative use from late 14c …   Etymology dictionary

  • lodestar — lodestar, lodestone are the preferred spellings, not load …   Modern English usage

  • lodestar — ► NOUN ▪ a star that is used to guide the course of a ship, especially the pole star …   English terms dictionary

  • lodestar — [lōd′stär΄] n. [ME lodesterre: see LODE & STAR] 1. a star by which one directs one s course; esp., the North Star 2. a guiding principle or ideal …   English World dictionary

  • lodestar — UK [ˈləʊdˌstɑː(r)] / US [ˈloʊdˌstɑr] noun Word forms lodestar : singular lodestar plural lodestars 1) [countable] mainly literary a principle that always influences or directs your actions 2) [singular] the North Star …   English dictionary

  • Lodestar — Loadstar Load star , Lodestar Lode star , n. [Load, lode + star. See {Lode}.] 1. A star that leads; a guiding star; esp., the polestar, Polaris; also, the constellation containing the pole star, the cynosure (Ursa Minor). Chaucer. Your eyes are… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • lodestar — noun especially literary 1 (singular) a principle or fact that guides someone: the economic lodestar for achieving low interest rates 2 the pole star, used as a guide by sailors …   Longman dictionary of contemporary English

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