What is azimuth?

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An azimuth is the angle measured between the main reference point and the subject point or point of interest. This angle is measured in degrees is projected in a perpendicular manner based on the main reference point which is fixed at the North direction. An azimuth measurement is used to describe an object’s location or position above or in the horizon. With the main reference point being North, the angle made by the subject point in relation to the North in a perpendicular field is referred to as the azimuth. Since the North is the main reference, objects that are exactly located at the so-called “true North” has an azimuth reading of zero “0” degrees.

The field of astronomy is one of many fields that use azimuth in determining the position of objects in the sky. A certain star for example may be described as being positioned 10 degrees azimuth based on the North reference point. The star being targeted will become the point of interest while the reference area will be the horizon. The horizon is considered the imaginary circular line that surrounds a reference point. When trying to get the position of the star, the horizon will form the imaginary circle based on the point of the observer. Using the line created by the North vector and perpendicular line of the subject star with regards to the horizon, the azimuth angle can be measured.

Aside from astronomy, the concept of azimuth is also widely used for navigation purposes. When expressed in navigational terms and measurements, the azimuth angle is also referred to as the “alpha” angle. Using the North as main reference point, true North can be described as zero “0” or “360” degrees azimuth. The angle measurement is done clockwise from true North and this makes the South azimuth as 180 degrees.