celestial poles


Also found in: Thesaurus, Encyclopedia.
Related to celestial poles: north celestial pole

celestial poles


click for a larger image
The North and South Celestial Poles are the equivalents in the sky of the North and South Poles on Earth. Earth’s axis joins the North and South Poles; extended northward it points to the North Celestial Pole, and extended southward it points to the South Celestial Pole. The North Celestial Pole is roughly marked by the star Polaris in the constellation Ursa Minor (the Little Dipper). Polaris is only three-quarters of one degree away from the true pole. To find Polaris, find Ursa Major (the Big Dipper) and extend the imaginary line joining the two stars known as the Pointers. There is no star marking the South Celestial Pole; the nearest star visible to the naked eye is Sigma Octantis. To find the South Celestial Pole, find the constellation of the Southern Cross and extend the imaginary line joining the two stars that form its longer arm.
Translations
References in periodicals archive ?
The celestial poles are those points in the sky that the stars appear to rotate around, and extend in a line from the Earth's axis of rotation.
The constellation chart at left shows the asteroid's race from practically the south to north celestial poles in just 12 hours.
You don't want to be right at the equator because you couldn't get the celestial poles from the equatorial regions.
Furthermore, at middle latitudes in both the northern and southern hemispheres, star trails photographed with the shutter open for several hours will appear as a series of concentric arcs around the north and south celestial poles respectively.
Thanks to Earth's rotational momentum, the sky, however, spins completely around the north and south celestial poles every 24 hours or so without relying on fluid mechanics to keep its heavenly wheel turning.