Equatorial (coordinates)

Equatorial (coordinates)

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It is the most used coordinate system among astronomers; It is defined by the straight ascension, corresponding to the terrestrial longitude, and by the decline, corresponding to the terrestrial latitude.

The equatorial coordinate system establishes a grid system of points and reference lines similar to that used in land mapping, projected so that there is a correspondence of the equator and the Earth's poles with the equator and the celestial poles.

Since the Earth moves around the Sun, the situation of celestial objects on the sphere, such as stars, varies daily. Therefore, a specific time of the year is assigned to establish the celestial grid. This moment is the vernal equinox, when the disk of the Sun passes directly over the equator and marks the beginning of spring in the northern hemisphere.

In this equatorial system the equivalent of latitude is declination and is measured in degrees, and the equivalent of longitude is straight ascension, a measure that is always done eastward and is expressed in hours. The annual path of the Sun through the celestial sphere forms a large circle in the sphere called ecliptic. Sometimes a coordinate system is used that uses the ecliptic as a reference plane instead of the equator.

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