EAP vocabulary: Learning

Unknown Words

Can you work out about the meaning of  the highlighted words in the following text?

The celestial sphere
All the objects in the sky (including the Sun, Moon, and stars) appear to lie at some indeterminate distance on a large sphere, centred on the Earth. This celestial sphere has various reference points and features that are related to those of the Earth. If the Earth's rotational axis is extended, for example, it points to the North and South Celestial Poles, which are thus in line with the North and South Poles on Earth. Similarly, the celestial equator lies in the same plane as the Earth's equator, and divides the sky into northern and southern hemispheres.
It is useful to know some of the special terms for various parts of the sky. As seen by an observer, half of the celestial sphere is invisible, below the horizon. The point directly overhead is known as the zenith, and the (invisible) one below one's feet as the nadir. The line running from the north point on the horizon, up through the zenith and then down to the south point is the meridian. This is an important invisible line in the sky, because objects are highest in the sky, and thus easiest to see, when they cross the meridian in the south. Objects are said to transit, when they cross this line in the sky.