Constellation and Pattern in the Sky

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Information about Constellation and Pattern in the Sky

Published on November 4, 2008

Author: aSGuest2551


Constellations and Patterns in the Sky : Constellations and Patterns in the Sky Star Patterns : Star Patterns 88 officially recognized constellations Convenient means for astronomers to specify large areas of the sky Significance : Significance Humans observed and named constellations because: Interesting shapes appeared Helped keep track of time of year Identified locations in the sky where things happened Names : Names Chinese constellations have names that represent palaces and gardens, generals and ministers In western culture, the northern constellations are usually animals or mythical figures Circumpolar Constellations : Circumpolar Constellations These constellations are always visible in the night sky In the Northern Hemisphere, they appear to circle around the North Star (Polaris) The Celestial Sphere : The Celestial Sphere As the constellations move across the sky, they stay the same distance from each other The ancients thought the sky was a hollow glass sphere that held all of the stars and rotated around the Earth We still use the idea of the celestial sphere to locate objects in the sky Slide 8: Celestial equator: circle in the celestial sphere on the same plane as the Earth’s equator Slide 9: Celestial poles: Points on the celestial sphere directly above and below the Earth’s poles Finding your way around the sky : Finding your way around the sky Zenith: the point on the sky directly above your head Meridian: the line that extends from the north horizon up to the zenith, and then down to the south horizon Azimuth: cardinal direction in which you are looking Seasonal Changes : Seasonal Changes All stars below the celestial equator appear and disappear with the seasons This is because as the Earth travels on its orbit, it is facing in different directions at night. Seasonal Changes : Seasonal Changes Over a period of 6 months, the Earth is on the other side of its orbit, and we see an entirely different set of stars and constellations than 6 months earlier. Click here for a movie Measurement of Distance : Measurement of Distance We use a method called triangulation to determine the distance to the stars. Triangulation : Triangulation This is a method of determining the distance that uses simple geometry. Steps: Look at a distant object from two separate locations Measure the distance between the two locations. This is the baseline. Triangulation : Triangulation 3. Measure the angle between each end of the baseline and the direction to the distant object. 4.Using these measurements, calculate the distance to the object. This is determined by the following formula: Distance = Baseline* sine angle B sine angle A Parallax : Parallax The apparent movement of an object as the observer’s location changes The closer an object is to you, the more it appears to move when your location changes.

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