Minute - Astronomy


In astronomy, the minute is a unit of angle, the minute of right ascension. It is equal to 1⁄60 of an hour of right ascension and can be further divided into 60 seconds of right ascension.

The Earth turns on its polar axis through fifteen minutes of arc in every minute of sidereal time. One minute of arc at the Earth's equator is approximately one nautical mile.

In old astronomical texts, minute can also mean a unit of time equal to 1⁄60 of a day (24 usual minutes). These minutes correspond to the Latin diei scrupulis, and used to express periods of planetary motions. For example, Kepler in Harmonices Mundi gives Saturn's year as 10759D12', that is 10759 (Earth) days, 4 hours, and 48 (usual) minutes (roughly 29.5 years).

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Famous quotes containing the word astronomy:

    It is noticed, that the consideration of the great periods and spaces of astronomy induces a dignity of mind, and an indifference to death.
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803–1882)