Fixed stars From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia For the band of this name, see Pony Club

(band). The fixed stars (from the Latin stellae fixae) are celestial objects that do not seem to move in relation to the other stars of the night sky. Hence, a fixed st ar is any star except for the Sun. A nebula or other starlike object may also be called a fixed star. People in many cultures have imagined that the stars form pictures in the sky called constellations. In ancient Greek astronomy, the stars were believed to exist on a giant celestial sphere, or firmament, that revolved around the Earth daily. Contents [hide] 1 Origination of name 2 The fixed stars are not fixed 3 The fixed stars in classical mechanics 4 See also 5 References Origination of name[edit] The phrase originated in classical antiquity, when astronomers and natural philo sophers divided the lights in the sky into two groups. One group contained the f ixed stars, which appear to rise and set but keep the same relative arrangement over time. The other group contained the naked eye planets, which they called wa ndering stars. (The Sun and Moon were sometimes called planets as well.) The pla nets seem to move and change their position over short periods of time (weeks or months). They always seem to move within the band of stars called the zodiac by Westerners. The planets can also be distinguished from fixed stars because star s tend to twinkle, while planets appear to shine with a steady light. The star catalogue compiled by Claudius Ptolemy in the 2nd century CE lists 1,02 2 fixed stars visible from Alexandria. This became the standard number of stars in Western culture for hundreds of years. The total number of stars visible to t he naked eye is about 6,000; only about half are visible at a given time of nigh t from a given point on the Earth. They are all stars in the Milky Way, and they are actually at different distances from us. Most of the millions of stars in t he Milky Way can only be detected with the aid of telescopes, or their existence indirectly inferred, because they are too faint or are obscured by interstellar gas, dust and other foreground stars.

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