The point on the celestial sphere vertically overhead. The point 180° from the zenith is called the NADIR.


Related Terms

GREENWICH HOUR ANGLE

Angular distance west of the Greenwich celestial meridian; the arc of the celestial equator, or the angle at the celestial pole, between the upper branch of the Greenwich celestial meridian and the hour circle of a point on the celestial sphere, measured westward from the Greenwich celestial meridian throug

HORIZON SYSTEM OF COORDINATES

A set of celestial coordinates based on the celestial horizon as the primary great circle; usually altitude and azimuth or azimuth angle.

HELIOCENTRIC PARALLAX

The difference in the apparent direction or positions of a celestial body outside the solar system, as observed from the earth and sun. Also called STELLAR PARALLAX, ANNUAL PARALLAX

HORIZON

The great circle of the celestial sphere midway between the zenith and nadir, or a line resembling or approximating such a circle. The line where earth and sky appear to meet, and the projection of this line upon the celestial sphere, is called the visible or apparent horizon. A line resembling the visible horizon but above or below it is called a false horizon. The circle of the celestial sphere-formed by the intersection of the celestial sphere and a plane perpendicular to the zenith-nadir line is called sensible horizon if the plane is through any point, such as the eye of an observer; geoidal horizon if through any sea-level point; and celestial or rational horizon if through the center of the earth. The geometrical horizon was originally considered identi- cal with the celestial horizon, but the expression is now more commonly used to refer to the intersection of the celestial

HOUR CIRCLE

On the celestial sphere, a great circle through the celestial poles. An hour circle through the zenith is called a celestial meridian Also called CIRCLE OF DECLINATION, CIRCLE OF

HACK

A chronometer which has failed to meet the exacting require- ments of a standard chronometer, and is used for timing observations of celestial bodies, regulating ship's clocks, etc. A comparing watch, which may be of high quality, is normally used for timing celestial observations, the watch being compared with the chronometer, preferably both before and after observations. Sometimes called HACK CHRONOMETER.

HOUR ANGLE

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

HORIZON GLASS

The glass of a marine sextant, attached to the frame, through which the horizon is observed. The half of this glass nearer the frame is silvered to form the HORIZON MIRROR for reflecting the image of a celestial body; the other half is clear.

INCLINATION

1. The angle which a line or surface makes with the verti- cal, horizontal, or with another line or surface. 2. One of the orbital elements (parameters) that specifies the orientation of an orbit. It is the angle between the orbital plane and a reference plane, the plane of the celestial equator for geocentric orbits and the ecliptic for heliocentric orbits.

MOTION

The act, process, or instance of change of position. Absolute motion is motion relative to a fixed point. Actual motion is motion of an object relative to the earth. Apparent or relative motion is change of position as observed from a reference point which may itself be in motion. Diurnal motion is the apparent daily motion of a celestial body. Direct motion is the apparent motion of a planet eastward among the stars; retrograde motion, the apparent motion westward among the stars. Motion of a celestial body through space is called space motion, which is composed of two components: proper motion, that component perpendicular to the line of sight; and radial motion, that component in the direction of the line of sight. Also called MOVEMENT, especially when used in connection with problems involving the motion of one vessel relative to another.

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