"Excellent . . . provides stimulating reading and actively involves the reader in astronomy." —The Reflector
Astronomy: A Self-Teaching Guideby Dinah L. Moche
For a generation, Astronomy: A Self-Teaching Guide has introduced hundreds of thousands of readers worldwide to the night sky. Now this classic beginner's guide has been completely revised to bring it up to date with the latest discoveries. Updated with the latest, most accurate information, new online resources, and more than 100 new graphics and photos/i>… See more details below
For a generation, Astronomy: A Self-Teaching Guide has introduced hundreds of thousands of readers worldwide to the night sky. Now this classic beginner's guide has been completely revised to bring it up to date with the latest discoveries. Updated with the latest, most accurate information, new online resources, and more than 100 new graphics and photos, this Eighth Edition features:
·Website addresses throughout for the best color images and astronomy resources online
·Technical ideas made simple without mathematics
·A beautiful updated full-color, glossy insert with spectacular images
·An interactive format with learning goals, reviews, self-tests, and answers for fast learning
Meet the Author
Dinah L. Moché, Ph.D., is Professor of Physics and Astronomy at the City University of New York. An award-winning author and lecturer, her books have sold over ten million copies in seven languages.
More from this Author
Read an Excerpt
Locate sky objects by their right ascension and declination on the celestial sphere.
Identify some bright stars and constellations visible each season.
Explain why the stars appear to move along arcs in the sky during the night.
Explain why some different constellations appear in the sky each season.
Explain the apparent daily and annual motions of the Sun.
Define the zodiac.
Describe how the starry sky looks when viewed from different latitudes on Earth.
Define a sidereal day and a solar day, and explain why they differ.
Explain how astronomers classify objects according to their apparent brightness (magnitude).
Explain why the polestar and the location of the vernal equinox change over a period of thousands of years.
1.1 STARGAZER’S VIEW
On a clear, dark night the sky looks like a gigantic dome studded with stars. We can easily see why the ancients believed that the starry sky was a huge sphere turning around Earth. Today we know that stars are remote, blazing Suns racing through space at different distances from Earth. The Earth rotates, or turns, daily around its axis (the imaginary line running through its center between the North and South Poles).
But the picture of the sky as a huge, hollow globe of stars that turns around Earth is still useful. Astronomers call this fictitious picture of the sky the celestial sphere. “Celestial” comes from the Latin word for heaven. Astronomers use the celestial sphere to locate stars and galaxies and to plot the courses of the Sun, Moon, and planets throughout the year. When you look at the stars, imagine yourself inside the celestial sphere looking out (Figure 1.1).
Why do the stars on the celestial sphere appear to move during the night when you observe them from Earth? ________________________________________
Answer: Because the Earth is rotating on its axis inside the celestial sphere.
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