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One of a set of magnitudes defining a point in space. If the point is known to be on a given line, only one coordinate is needed; if on a surface, two are required; if in space, three. Cartesian coordinates define a point relative to two intersecting lines, called AXES. If the axes are perpendicular, the coordinates are rectangular; if not perpendicular, they are oblique coordinates. A three- dimensional system of Cartesian coordinates is called space coordinates. Polar coordinates define a point by its distance and direction from a fixed point called the POLE. Direction is given as the angle between a reference radius vector and a radius vector to the point. If three dimensions are involved, two angles are used to locate the radius vector. Space-polar coordinates define a point on the surface of a sphere by (1) its distance from a fixed point at the center, called the POLE (2) the COLATITUDE or angle between the POLAR AXIS (a reference line through the pole) and the RADIUS VECTOR (a straight line connecting the pole and the point)- and (3) the LONGITUDE or angle between a reference plane through the polar axis and a plane through the radius vector and the polar axis. Spherical coordinates define a point on a sphere or spheroid by its angular distances from a primary great circle and from a reference secondary great circle. Geographical or terrestrial coordinates define a point on the surface of the earth. Celestial coordinates define a point on the celestial sphere. The horizon, celestial equator and the ecliptic systems of celestial coordinates are based on the celestial horizon, celestial equator, and the ecliptic, respectively, as the primary great circle.



Related Terms

SPACE-POLAR COORDINATES

A system of coordinates by which a point on the surface of a sphere is located in space by (1) its distance from a fixed point at the center, called the POLE; (2) the COLATITUDE or angle between the POLAR AXIS (a reference line through the pole) and the RADIUS VECTOR (a straight line connecting the pole and the point); and (3) the LONGITUDE or angle between a reference plane through the polar axis and a plane through the radius vector and polar axis.

STAR

A large self-luminous celestial body. Stars are generally at such great distances from the earth that they appear to the eye to be fixed in space relative to each other. Comets, meteors, and nebulae may also be selfluminous, but are much smaller. Two stars appearing close together are called a double star, an optical double star if they appear close because they are in nearly the same line of sight but differ greatly in distance from the observer, a physical double star if in nearly the same line of sight and at approximately the same distance from the observer. A system of two stars that revolve about their common center of mass is called a binary star. A group of three or more stars so close together that they appear as a single star is called a multiple star. A group of stars physically close together is called a star cluster. A variable star changes in magnitude. A star which suddenly becomes many times brighter than previously, and then gradually fades, is called a nova. The brightest planet appearing in the western sky during evening twilight is called evening star, and the brightest one appearing in the eastern sky during morning twilight is called morning star. A shooting star or meteor is a solid particle too small to be seen until it enters the earth’s atmosphere, when it is heated to incandescence by friction of the air.

LHA

Angular distance west of the local celestial meridian; the arc of the celestial equator, or the angle at the celestial pole, between the upper branch of the local celestial meridian and the hour circle of a point on th

CORIOLIS CORRECTION

  1. A correction applied to an assumed position, celestial line of position, celestial fix, or to a computed or observed altitude to allow for Coriolis acceleration. 2. In inertial navigation equipment, an acceleration correction which must be applied to measurements of acceleration with respect to a coordinate system in translation to compensate for the effect of any angular motion of the coordinate system with respect to inertial space.

RIGHT ASCENSION

Angular distance east of the vernal equinox; the arc of the celestial equator, or the angle at the celestial pole, between the hour circle of the vernal equinox and the hour circle of a point on the celestial sphere, measured eastward from the hour circle of the vernal equinox through 24 hours. Angular distance west of the vernal equinox, through 360°, is SIDEREAL HOUR ANGLE.

ANOMALY

  1. Departure from the strict characteristics of the type, pattern, scheme, etc. 2. An angle used in the mathematical description of the orbit of one body about another. It is the angle between the radius vector of the body and the line of apsides and is measured from pericenter in the direction of motion. When the radius vector is from the center of the primary to the orbiting body, the angle is called true anomaly. When the radius vector is from the center of the primary to a fictitious body moving with a uniform angular velocity in such a way that its period is equal to that of the actual body, the angle is called mean anomaly. When the radius vector is from the center of the elliptical orbit to the point of intersection of the circle defined by the semimajor axis with the line perpendicular to the semimajor axis and passing through the orbiting body, the angle is called eccentric anomaly or eccentric angle. 3. Departure of the local mean value of a meteorological element from the mean value for the latitude.

PROPER MOTION

The component of the space motion of a celestial body perpendicular to line of sight, resulting in the change of a stars apparent position relative to other stars. Proper motion is expressed in angular units.

MERIDIAN ANGLE

Angular distance east or west of the local celestial meridian; the arc of the celestial equator, or the angle at the celestial pole, between the upper branch of the local celestial meridian and the hour circle of a celestial body measured eastward or westward from the local celestial meridian through 180°, and labeled E or W to indicate the direction of measurement.

LOCAL HOUR ANGLE

Angular distance west of the local celestial meridian; the arc of the celestial equator, or the angle at the celestial pole, between the upper branch of the local celestial meridian and the hour circle of

HIGH ALTITUDE METHOD

The establishing of a circular line of position from the observation of the altitude of a celestial body by means of the geographical position and zenith distance of the body. The line of position is a circle having the geographical position as its center and a radius equal to the zenith distance. The method is normally used only for bodies at high altitudes having small zenith distances. METHOD LONGITUDE METHOD. high clou

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