This post piqued my interest so I did a little research:
My Research From ‘Wikipedia’ : This star has an excess emission of infrared radiation, indicating the presence of circumstellar matter. This forms a debris disk around an orbital radius of 16 Astronomical Units from the star. This radius is unusually small for the estimated age of the disk, which may be explained by drag from the Poynting–Robertson effect causing the dust to spiral inward.
From another internet site:
Thursday, 2nd March 2017 5:58:14 AM
When I was a kid in around 1955 to 1969 that star was very visible in the night. Why has it seemed to fade over the 20 some years.
And another site:
Is it just me or is the star that connects the dipper with the handle fading out
There are no clouds its a cold , clear night
For those that can , step outside and observe
I have never come across this before
Its barely there if at all(Feb 2013)
Finally Patrick Moore, in his book ‘Stargazing’ in 2001, at page 25 states:
“Old astronomers of more than 1,000 years ago stated that it was as bright as the other Ursa Major stars. Either they were wrong or (less probably) Megrez has actually faded about a magnitude since then.”
My question – Is it another case of dust obscuration – now becoming more rapid ???? Trouble is, at 57 degrees north it is just about inaccessible from here in Brisbane Australia…