Right ascension

Right ascension (abbreviated RA; symbol α) is the angular distance of a particular point measured eastward along the celestial equator from the Sun at the March equinox to the (hour circle of the) point in question above the earth.[1] When paired with declination, these astronomical coordinates specify the location of a point on the celestial sphere in the equatorial coordinate system.

Right ascension and declination as seen on the inside of the celestial sphere. The primary direction of the system is the March equinox, the ascending node of the ecliptic (red) on the celestial equator (blue). Right ascension is measured eastward up to 24h along the celestial equator from the primary direction.

An old term, right ascension (Latin: ascensio recta)[2] refers to the ascension, or the point on the celestial equator that rises with any celestial object as seen from Earth's equator, where the celestial equator intersects the horizon at a right angle. It contrasts with oblique ascension, the point on the celestial equator that rises with any celestial object as seen from most latitudes on Earth, where the celestial equator intersects the horizon at an oblique angle.[3]