Southern Coordinates

Southern celestial coordinates are similar to northern celestial coordinates. They operate according to the same mathematics. The main difference is that the two coordinate hemispheres are mirror images of one another. While the northern heavens seem to rotate counterclockwise around the north celestial pole, the southern Sun, Moon, planets, and stars seem to rotate clockwise around the south celestial pole.

Recall your middle-school algebra class. Imagine the cartesian coordinate plane. The northern hemisphere is akin to the first and second quadrants, where the y values are positive; the southern hemisphere is cousin to the third and fourth quadrants, where the y values are negative. No particular quadrant is preferable to or more special than any of the other three. So it is with Earth and sky. Fully half the points on the surface of Earth are south of the equator. It is no more unusual in this world for the Sun to shine from the north at high noon than it is for the Sun to shine from the south. Only the extreme polar regions experience conditions that most people would call truly strange, where the Moon or Sun can stay above the horizon for days or weeks at a time, circling the points of the compass.

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