One can locate a specific celestial object in several ways, most of which involve specifying two coordinates. The azimuth is one of the coordinates of such a system. Although the notion of azimuth is basically simple, it is not simple to explain. Imagine that a group of people are looking at a star. From where they are standing, they can measure the angle between the horizon and the star. This gives them one coordinate in terms of angular distance (called the altitude, for obvious reasons). Then imagine a geometric plane that, like some kind of gigantic wall, cuts through Earth, intersecting the north and south poles, the place where they are standing, and the point directly over their heads (the zenith). They then measure another angle with their surveying instrument, this time between the imaginary wall and the star. This angular distance gives them the azimuth.


Filbey, John, and Peter Filbey. The Astrologer's Companion. Wellingborough, Northamptonshire,

UK: Aquarian Press, 1986. Gettings, Fred. Dictionary of Astrology. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1985.

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