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Declination

In astronomy, declination (abbrev. dec or ) is one of

the two coordinates of the equatorial coordinate system,

the other being either right ascension or hour angle.

Declination in astronomy is comparable to geographic

latitude, but projected onto the celestial sphere.

Declination is measured in degrees north and south of

the celestial equator. Points north of the celestial

equator have positive declinations, while those to the

south have negative declinations.

An object on the celestial equator has a declination

of 0.

An object at the celestial north pole has a declination

of +90.

An object at the celestial south pole has a

declination of 90.

The sign is customarily included even if it is positive. Any unit of angle can be used for declination, but it is often

expressed in degrees, minutes, and seconds of arc.

A celestial object that passes over zenith has a declination equal to the observer's latitude. A pole star therefore has

the declination near to +90 or 90. At northern latitudes >0, celestial objects with a declination greater than

90 are always visible. Such stars are called circumpolar stars, while the phenomenon of the Sun not setting is

called midnight sun.

Stars

Because a star lies in a nearly constant direction as viewed from Earth, its declination is approximately constant from

year to year. However, both the right ascension and declination do change gradually due to the effects of precession

of the equinoxes, proper motion, and annual parallax.

Varying declination

The declinations of all solar system objects change much more quickly than those of stars.

Sun

The declination of the Sun, , is the angle between the rays of the Sun and the plane of the Earth's equator. The

Earth's axial tilt (called the obliquity of the ecliptic by astronomers) is the angle between the Earth's axis and a line

perpendicular to the Earth's orbit. The Earth's axial tilt changes gradually over thousands of years, but its current

value is about = 2326'. Because this axial tilt is nearly constant, solar declination () varies with the seasons and

its period is one year.

At the solstices, the angle between the rays of the Sun and the plane of the Earth's equator reaches its maximum

value of 2326'. Therefore = +2326' at the northern solstice and = 2326' at the southern solstice.

At the moment of each equinox, the center of the Sun appears to pass through the celestial equator, and is 0.

The Sun's declination is equal to the inverse sine of the product of sine of Sun's maximum declination and sine of

Sun's tropical longitude at any given moment. Instead of computing the Sun's tropical longitude, if we need Sun's

declination in terms of days, the following procedure may be used.

Declination

Since the Earth's orbital eccentricity is quite low, its orbit can be approximated as a perfect circle:

where the cosine operates on degrees; if the cosine's argument is in radians, the 360 in the equation is replaced with

2. In either case, the formula returns in degrees.

is the number of days elapsed since January 1.

An alternative form is given as:[1]

where

More accurate daily values from averaging the four years of a leap-year cycle are given in the Table of the

Declination of the Sun [3].

See also

Ecliptic

Geographic coordinate system

Lunar standstill

Setting circles

External links

Table of the Declination of the Sun: Mean Value for the Four Years of a Leap-Year Cycle [3]

Declination function for Excel, CAD or your other programs. [4] The Sun API is free and extremely accurate. For

Windows computers.

How to compute planetary positions [5] by Paul Schlyter.

References

[1] Desmond Fletcher (2007). "Solar Declination" (http:/ / web. archive. org/ web/ 20080524032606/ http:/ / holodeck. st. usm. edu/

vrcomputing/ vrc_t/ tutorials/ solar/ declination. shtml). . Retrieved 2010-02-18.

[2] J. W. Spencer (1971). Fourier series representation of the position of the sun (http:/ / www. mail-archive. com/ sundial@uni-koeln. de/

msg01050. html). .

[3] http:/ / www. wsanford. com/ ~wsanford/ exo/ sundials/ DEC_Sun. html

[4] http:/ / www. sunlit-design. com/ products/ thesunapi/ documentation/ sdxDecl. php

[5] http:/ / www. stjarnhimlen. se/ comp/ ppcomp. html

Declination Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?oldid=380945840 Contributors: Ac44ck, Alberto Orlandini, Alfio, AlwaysWrite, Anddrrew, Andre Engels, Anton Gutsunaev,

Antzervos, Archer7, Arthena, Astrologist, Avjoska, B.d.mills, Bebenko, Berserkerus, Bronger, CALR, Chris Dybala, Chromosome, Conversion script, CosineKitty, DMG413, DOwenWilliams,

Dhaluza, Dkreisst, Drilnoth, Dungodung, Eco751, Epbr123, Evil Monkey, Fuper, Geof, Hurricane111, Icairns, Ja 62, Janneok, Jc3s5h, Jerzy, Jimp, Julesd, Katymeehan, Kbarox, Kesuari,

KnightRider, Kristaga, Kwekubo, Laurascudder, Lerdsuwa, Lir, Lismoreboy, Looxix, Mejor Los Indios, Michael Hardy, Minna Sora no Shita, Mishuletz, MistySpock, Modeha, Njk92, Numbo3,

Patrick, Pizza Puzzle, Ponder, RJHall, RedWolf, Rigadoun, Roland Longbow, Rpresser, Sam Hocevar, ScAvenger lv, Scriber, Shijualex, Smartech, SteveMcCluskey, Sverdrup,

TheObtuseAngleOfDoom, Vinay Jha, Vsmith, White Trillium, Wiki-Ed, , , 63 anonymous edits

Image:Equatorial coordinates.png Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:Equatorial_coordinates.png License: unknown Contributors: Geof at en.wikipedia

Image:Sun-declination.png Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:Sun-declination.png License: GNU Free Documentation License Contributors: Original uploader was

Sverdrup at en.wikipedia

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