In astronomy, altitude is the angular distance of a heavenly body above the astronomical horizon as determined by the angle which a line drawn from the eye of the observer to the heavenly body makes with the plane of the horizon. The reading of the apparent altitude, as determined by a telescope attached to a graduated circle, must be corrected for refraction by the atmosphere and for certain other effects to ascertain the true altitude. The altitude of the north celestial pole, which is approximately that of the star Polaris, is equal to the observer's latitude.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
See more Encyclopedia articles on: Geology and Oceanography