Thursday, May 31, 2012

"Navigating the Stars - How to Find Your Way Around the Night Sky"

"Navigating the Stars - How to Find Your Way Around the Night Sky"," However, over the tens of thousands of years that humanity has gazed at the stars we have developed a system to sort and navigate around the night sky. The hardest thing about creating a map of the sky is that it looks different for different places on the planet. Because of this astronomers designated specific places on the celestial sphere to be the north and south poles and the celestial equator. From these points the sky is measured with two different things, declination and right ascension. It is similar to latitude on the Earth. Right ascension is a bit more complicated. It takes 24 hours for the Earth to make one full rotation, so there are 24 sections of right ascension. The vernal equinox is zero hours and the hours increase to the east. To use this system of navigation you have to be able to find the celestial equator and know where the vernal equinox is (currently in the constellation Pisces). Once you have the North Star you must measure how high it is, in degrees, in the sky. A fist extended at arm's length is about 10 degrees, while a finger is about 2 degrees. To find the celestial equator, subtract the number you got from 90 and measure the new degrees in the opposite direction. The equation is as follows: celestial equator=(90-height, in degrees, of the North Star) in the opposite direction as the North Star. . WHAT'S UP  


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