A star's direction remains nearly fixed due to its vast distance, but its right ascension and declination do change gradually due to precession of the equinoxes and proper motion, and cyclically due to annual parallax. The declinations of solar system objects change very rapidly compared to those of stars, due to orbital motion and close proximity.
As seen from locations in the Earth's Northern Hemisphere, celestial objects with declinations greater than 90° − φ (where φ= observer's latitude) appear to circle daily around the celestial pole without dipping below the horizon, and are therefore called circumpolar stars. This similarly occurs in the Southern Hemisphere for objects with declinations less (i.e. more negative) than -90° − φ (where φ is always a negative number for southern latitudes). An extreme example is the pole starwhich has a declination near to +90°, so is circumpolar as seen from anywhere in the Northern Hemisphere except very close to the equator.
Circumpolar stars never dip below the horizon. Conversely, there are other stars that never rise above the horizon, as seen from any given point on the Earth's surface (except exactly on the equator). Generally, if a star whose declination is δ is circumpolar for some observer (where δ is either positive or negative), then a star whose declination is −δ never rises above the horizon, as seen by the same observer. (This neglects the effect of atmospheric refraction.) Likewise, if a star is circumpolar for an observer at latitude φ, then it never rises above the horizon as seen by an observer at latitude −φ.
Neglecting atmospheric refraction, declination is always 0° at east and west points of the horizon. At the north point, it is 90° − |φ|, and at the south point, -90° + |φ|. From the poles, declination is uniform around the entire horizon, approximately 0°.
|Observer's latitude, °||Declination|
|of circumpolar stars, °||of non-circumpolar stars, °||of stars not visible, °|
|+ for north latitude, - for south||- for north latitude, + for south|
|90 (Pole)||90 to 0||
||0 to 90|
|66.5 (Arctic/Antarctic Circle)||90 to 23.5||+23.5 to -23.5||23.5 to 90|
|45 (midpoint)||90 to 45||+45 to -45||45 to 90|
|23.5 (Tropic of Cancer/Capricorn)||90 to 66.5||+66.5 to -66.5||66.5 to 90|
||+90 to -90||
Non-circumpolar stars are visible only during certain days or seasons of the year.