Hour angle

In astronomy and celestial navigation, the hour angle is the angle between two planes: one containing Earth's axis and the zenith (the meridian plane), and the other containing Earth's axis and a given point of interest (the hour circle).[1]

The hour angle is indicated by an orange arrow on the celestial equator plane. The arrow ends at the hour circle of an orange dot indicating the apparent place of an astronomical object on the celestial sphere.

It may be given in degrees, time, or rotations depending on the application. The angle may be expressed as negative east of the meridian plane and positive west of the meridian plane, or as positive westward from 0° to 360°. The angle may be measured in degrees or in time, with 24h = 360° exactly. In celestial navigation, the convention is to measure in degrees westward from the prime meridian (Greenwich hour angle, GHA), from the local meridian (local hour angle, LHA) or from the first point of Aries (sidereal hour angle, SHA).

The hour angle is paired with the declination to fully specify the location of a point on the celestial sphere in the equatorial coordinate system.[2]

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