With all this discussion about Polaris, I thought you might find a couple of photos I took back in 2002 that shows you that the earth's spin axis is close to, but not precisely at Alpha UMi. Take a look at http://www.pbase.com/tomcat/aurora. The right-hand picture (http://www.pbase.com/tomcat/image/5186538)shows how the stars move over about 4 hours. The star nearest the center of the arcs is Polaris; if it was precisely at the pole, then the arc would have been a point.
You may also find the animated GIF photos of a (relatively) rare low-latitude (Maryland) Aurora interesting.
73 & Happy New Year -- Tom