# ALTITUDE

Angular distance above the horizon; the arc of a vertical circle between the horizon and a point on the celestial sphere, measured upward from the horizon. Angular distance below the horizon is called negative altitude or depression. Altitude indicated by a sextant is called sextant altitude. Sextant altitude corrected only for inaccuracies in the reading (instrument, index, and personal errors, as applicable) and inaccuracies in the reference level (principally dip) is called apparent or rectified altitude. After all corrections are applied, it is called corrected sextant altitude or observed altitude. An altitude taken directly from a table, before interpolation, is called tabulated altitude. After interpolation, or if determined by calculation, mechanical device, or graphics, it is called computed altitude. If the altitude of a celestial body is computed before observation, and sextant altitude corrections are applied with reversed sign, the result is called precomputed altitude. The difference between computed and observed altitudes (corrected sextant altitudes), or between precomputed and sextant altitudes, is called altitude intercept or altitude difference. An altitude deter- mined by inexact means, as by estimation or star finder, is called an approximate altitude. The altitude of a celestial body on the celes- tial meridian is called meridian altitude. The expression ex- meridian altitude is applied to the altitude of a celestial body near the celestial meridian, to which a correction is to be applied to deter- mine the meridian altitude. A parallel of altitude is a circle of the celestial sphere parallel to the horizon, connecting all points of equal altitude.

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