altitude

Science Dictionary
altitude   (āl'tĭ-td')  Pronunciation Key 
  1. The height of an object or structure above a reference level, usually above sea level or the Earth's surface.

  2. Astronomy The position of a celestial object above an observer's horizon, measured in degrees along a line between the horizon (0°) and the zenith (90°). Unlike declination and celestial latitude—the corresponding points in other celestial coordinate systems—the altitude of star or other celestial object is dependent on an observer's geographic location and changes steadily as the sky passes overhead due to the rotation of the Earth. See more at altazimuth coordinate system.

  3. Mathematics The perpendicular distance from the base of a geometric figure, such as a triangle, to the opposite vertex, side, or surface.


The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
Cite This Source
Explore Dictionary.com
Previous Definition: altiplano
Next Definition: altitudinous
Words Near: altitude
More from Thesaurus.com
Synonyms and Antonyms for altitude
More from Reference.com
Search for articles containing altitude
More from Dictionary.com Translator
Dictionary.com Word FAQs

Dictionary.com presents 366 FAQs, incorporating some of the frequently asked questions from the past with newer queries.

Copyright © 2014 Dictionary.com, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature