What Is a Celestial Sphere and How Is the Celestial Sphere Important In Positional Astronomy?

Even though we know that the heavens do not rotate around Earth, it only appears so because Earth is rotating on its axis, astronomers find this image useful in locating stars, planets, galaxies, and comets.

The starry sky looks like a dome high above Earth. Imagine this dome completely surrounding Earth, as if Earth were the center of a Tootsie Roll Pop.

The dome is called the celestial sphere. We stand on the inner sphere of Earth, looking up at the celestial sphere.

Like Earth, the celestial sphere has an equator, poles, longitudes, and latitudes.

They are called the celestial equator, the celestial north and south poles, right ascension, and declination.

The ecliptic is the path the Sun appears to take around Earth.

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

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