Well, at the time stamp of about 2000 AD (CE), I think you will. It’s one of the most famous constellations in the night sky.
Well, technically, it’s not a constellation at all.
It’s an asterism—a commonly recognized grouping of stars that isn’t actually official as a constellation. There are tons of asterisms that you no doubt recognize…the Summer Triangle, the Great Square of Pegasus, the Big Dipper.
That’s right. That mess of stars up there that keeps changing for some reason…that’s the oft-recognized Big Dipper, part of the constellation Ursa Major.
Okay, so maybe I sort of gave it away in the post title…
I know what you’re about to say next. Why are we looking at a mount? What’s so special about a mount—isn’t the telescope itself more important?
And the fact is…I know where you’re going with that. The telescope is important, and without it, the mount would have no purpose. But without the mount, the telescope would be lost—it would have power, but nothing to do.
The celestial sphere is certainly a strange way to think about the night sky.
It makes sense to use globes to diagram the Earth. The Earth, after all, is a roughly spherical planet, and flat paper maps have a way of distorting distances.
The sky, though? Seriously? I mean, we all know the universe isn’t exactly a defined sphere that barely extends past Earth’s surface, right?
Funnily enough, the celestial sphere depicts all the stars as sitting on the plane of its surface like thumbtacks on a ceiling. Planets are described as following regular paths around this odd-looking sphere.
Pretty strange way to think about the night sky, right?