Astrophysics (Index)About

arcsecond

(arcsec, sec, second)
(a 3600th of an angular degree)

An arcsecond (arcsec or just second or sec) is a unit of angle or arc, commonly used in astronomy for celestial sphere coordinates and distances across the sky. A degree (unit of angle corresponding to 1/360 of a full circle) is divided into 60 arcminutes (arcmin or just minute or min), which, in turn, is divided into 60 arcseconds, making an arcsecond 1/3600 of a degree or 1/1,296,000 of a full circle, or 2π/1,296,000 of a radian. A milli-arcsecond (or mas) and micro-arcsecond are 1/1,000 and 1/1,000,000 of this value.

Right ascension is commonly measured in hours (which might logically be called angular hours), 1/24 of a full circle, corresponding to 15 degrees. Fractions of an hour are also expressed as minutes (or minutes of arc, 1/60 hour) and seconds (or seconds of arc, 1/60 minute of arc). The terms second and minute can be ambiguous, thus the longer names to avoid confusion.

Astronomers sometimes avoid hours, minutes and/or seconds: radians may be used, or hours for right ascension may be avoided in favor of degrees, or degrees (and/or hours) may be expressed in decimal fashion when specifying more angular precision.


(unit)
Further reading:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minute_and_second_of_arc
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Right_ascension

Referenced by pages:
Anglo-Australian Telescope (AAT)
Atacama Cosmology Telescope (ACT)
angular resolution
Australia Telescope Compact Array (ATCA)
C-BASS
Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope (CFHT)
CHARA
CONCERTO
CRATES
Extended Groth Strip (EGS)
Einstein Telescope
EMPIRE Survey
equatorial coordinate system
ESO 137-001
fast radio burst (FRB)
Holmberg radius
Hubble Ultra-Deep Field (HUDF)
interferometer
J designator
Kapteyn's Star
Lacaille 9352
Luyten Half-second Catalog (LHS)
Large Millimeter Telescope (LMT)
Luyten Two-Tenths Arcsecond Catalog (LTT)
Lynx
gravitational microlensing
Ohio Radio Survey (OSS)
Ooty Radio Telescope (ORT)
Pan-STARRS
parallax
parsec (pc)
PAWS
Plateau de Bure Interferometer (PdBI)
pointing error (PE)
plate scale
proper motion (PM)
Rho Ophiuchi Cloud Complex
SCUBA
seeing
solid angle (Ω)
spacetime diagram
SPHEREx
2dF-SDSS LRG and QSO survey (2SLAQ)
Uppsala General Catalogue (UGC)
Very Large Array (VLA)

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