sepehr-e âsmân (#), kore-ye ~ (#)
Fr.: sphère céleste
An imaginary sphere, of large but indefinite dimension, used as a basis to define the position coordinates of celestial bodies. The center can be the Earth, the observer, or any other point which plays the role of origin for a given system of coordinates. Seen from the Earth, the celestial sphere rotates around the → celestial axis every 23h 56m 04s (the → sidereal day), as a result of the Earth's rotation. Two important circles on the celestial sphere are the → celestial equator and the → ecliptic. The angle between them, about 23.40 degrees, is known as the → obliquity of the ecliptic. The celestial equator and the ecliptic intersect at two points, → vernal equinox and → autumnal equinox. The positions of the → celestial poles and therefore that of the → celestial equator move gradually on the celestial sphere, due to → precession.