Declination

The angular distance of a celestial object north or south of the celestial equator, measured in degrees. One of the two coordinates (right ascension is the other) that let you find celestial objects with the aid of a star chart and telescope setting circles. Called declination because stellar positions in degrees "decline" or decrease in numerical value from 90 degrees at the north and south celestial poles (around which everything in the sky appears to rotate) down to zero degrees at the plane of the celestial equator. Declination is in positive degrees if the object is between the celestial equator and the north celestial pole, and in negative degrees if it is between the celestial equator and the south celestial pole.


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