• Roger B. Culver
Reference work entry

Astronomy, the study of celestial objects, is a universally human endeavor whose roots lie deeply buried in prehistory. For the sky‐watcher devoid of optical aid, the heavens can be thought of as a sort of earth‐centered celestial sphere on to which have been sprinkled hundreds of tiny points of light we have called the stars. Half of this inverted bowl of blackness is almost completely dominated by the dazzling presence of the sun, the most prominent and important of the celestial objects. Such is the sun's brilliance that any attempt to view this object directly is to risk serious eye damage or even total blindness. As a result of the earth's spinning motion or rotation, an observer at a given location on the earth sees a sky that alternates between a daytime sky dominated by the sun and a nighttime sky characterized by its absence. As the earth turns on its axis, the sun appears to rise up from a given observer's eastern horizon, pass through a “high noon point” or maximum angle...

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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg New York 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Roger B. Culver

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