Definition of almucantar in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˌalməˈkantə/

Entry from British & World English dictionary


1 Astronomy A circle on the celestial sphere parallel to the horizon; a parallel of altitude.
Example sentences
  • It can be programmed to collect data in manual or automated sequences of measurements, which include almucantar and principal plane scenarios.
  • It does both principle-plane and almucantar sky-radiance scans, which are then processed through sophisticated inversion techniques.
  • Once you have located the sun on the ecliptic, simply align the sun with the eastern horizon and read its position using the almucantars, which are drawn every ten degrees.
2A telescope mounted on a float resting on mercury, used to determine stellar altitude and azimuth.
Example sentences
  • The pedestal of this almucantar is an ordinary cast-iron gaspipe, about 9 in. in diameter externally, and 6 ft. long, sunk 3 ft. in the ground.
  • The discovery, in 1891, of the variation of latitude by Seth Carlo Chandler Jr. depended in part upon Chandler's invention of the almucantar.
  • It had been invented by a professor at Harvard, but Howe's version of it was much more imposing; the almucantar at Harvard Observatory weighed 35 pounds -- Howe's, 2,300 pounds.


Middle English: from medieval Latin almucantarath or obsolete French almucantara, from Arabic al-muqanṭarāt 'lines of celestial latitude', based on al 'the' + qanṭara 'arch'.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: al¦mu|can¦tar

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