By Jean Meeus
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Another asterism is the Great Square of Pegasus (Figure 2-2b), which includes three stars from Pegasus plus Alpheratz from Andromeda. The star charts at the end of this book will introduce you to the brighter constellations and asterisms. Although constellations and asterisms are groups of stars that appear close together in the sky, it is important to remember that most are made up of stars that are not physically associated with one another. Some stars may be many times farther away than others and moving through space in different directions.
Find examples in newspapers, magazines, and this book. Problems 1. The diameter of Earth is 7928 miles. What is its diameter in inches? In yards? If the diameter of Earth is expressed as 12,756 km, what is its diameter in meters? In centimeters? Give your answers in scientific notation. 2. 609 km and the moon is 2160 miles in diameter, what is its diameter in kilometers? 3. 50 ϫ 108 km. Explain why this is the same as 150 ϫ 106 km. 4. 72 AU from the sun. What is that distance in kilometers? 5. Light from the sun takes 8 minutes to reach Earth.
From any location on Earth you see only half of the celestial sphere, the half above the horizon. The zenith marks the top of the sky above your head, and the nadir marks the bottom of the sky directly under your feet. The drawing at right shows the view for an observer in North America. An observer in South America would have a dramatically different horizon, zenith, and nadir. North n Horizo East South celestial pole Nadir North celestial pole Ursa Major Ursa Minor Looking north Orion AURA/NOAO/NSF Gemini Looking east Canis Major This time exposure of about 30 minutes shows stars as streaks, called star trails, rising behind an observatory dome.