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Solar System astronomy

Science
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Locate the celestial equator. Name one star on or very near it. Find one within 10 degrees north or south.______ is about _____ degrees N/S of the equator. Indicate in your answer if the star is north or south.

Feb 3rd, 2015

Distances on the sky are measured in terms of angles. Lines from opposite sides of the Moon to your eye intersect at an angle of about 1/2 degree, so we say the Moon spans, orsubtends, an angle of about 1/2 degree. Your fist at arm's length spans about 10 degrees.

The heavens appear to rotate around two points called thecelestial poles. The elevation of the pole above your horizon is equal to your latitude. Stars close to the north celestial pole circle the pole without ever hitting the horizon. Such stars are calledcircumpolar. Around the South Celestial Pole is a similar zone of stars that never rise. In between, is a band of stars that rise and set.

Since the celestial pole is at an elevation equal to your latitude, at the North Pole the elevation of the celestial pole is 90 degrees - straight overhead. All the stars circle the pole endlessly and never rise or set. All the stars are circumpolar, and the opposite half of the sky can never be seen. At the equator, the poles are at an elevation of zero degrees. All stars rise and set. The equator is the only latitude where all stars in the sky are visible at some time or another.

On the star maps below, major constellations are joined by red lines, and less conspicuous constellations are in gray. Not all constellations are shown. Constellations are in bold type, individual stars andasterisms, or informally named groups of stars, are in italics


Feb 3rd, 2015

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