What does zenith mean?

Meaning of Zenith

Zenith is a point of reference for the observation of the sky , a concept used in the natural sciences, mainly in astronomy.


It is defined as the point exactly above a specified location .
On a horizontal surface an imaginary line is drawn perpendicular to the plane, the point above the sphere is the zenith.

There is another meaning derived from an Arabic expression meaning ” direction of the head ” or ” way above the head “.

The term can also be used to define the highest point in the sky where a celestial object passes on its apparent path.


In astronomy, the zenith defines one of the axes of the horizontal coordinate system , in it the height of an object is measured, in degrees, from the horizon, always corresponding to 90°.

Solar Zenith

The term Solar Zenith means the moment when the sun falls vertically at a place on the surface of the earth .

This happens exactly at solar noon of the place at any given time , the shadow of any object corresponds to its vertical projection on the ground,

The latitude at which the Sun reaches its zenith varies throughout the year with the movement of the Earth between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn (outside the range between the two tropics, it does not occur)

Zenith and Nadir

Nadir is considered the opposite of the zenith , that is, the opposing celestial reference point.
Since the zenith is considered to be the highest region above the observer’s head, the nadir consists of the lowest point , which is below the observer’s feet.

This term also originated from the Arabic nadeer or nathir , which literally means ” opposite “.

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