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Chapter 6 Introduction to Celestial Navigation - 14221_167
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Understanding the Celestial Coordinate System - 14221_169
Earth and the Celestial Sphere Introduction As you know, Earth is actually an oblate spheroid, just as with chart projections,  we  consider  Earth  a  perfect  sphere  for  celestial  observations. Celestial  Sphere Simply  stated,  the  celestial  sphere  is  an  imaginary  sphere  that  stretches  out to  the  ends  of  the  universe.  At  the  very  center  of  the  celestial  sphere  is Earth.  As  you  know,  Earth  rotates  on  its  axis  from  west  to  east.  Because of this rotation, celestial bodies appear to be in motion, rising in the east then crossing over the observer’s meridian and going on to set in the west. Figure  6-1.  Celestial  sphere  revolving  about  Earth. Celestial Poles, The  celestial  poles  are  located  by  extending  Earths  north  and  south  poles Equator, and (fig.  6-1).  The  celestial  equator  (also  known  as  the  equinoctial)  is Meridians formed by extending Earth’s equator out onto the celestial sphere. Meridians  are  formed  by  hour  circles  that  are  similar  to  great  circles.  The celestial  meridian  is  formed  by  extending  the  Greenwich  meridian  out onto the celestial sphere. 6-2

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