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(symbol h) 

1. In astronomy, angular displacement above the horizon; the arc of a vertical circle between the horizon and a point on the celestial sphere, measured upward from the horizon.

Angular displacement below the horizon is called negative altitude or dip. See horizon system.
2. Height, especially radial distance as measured above a given datum, as average sea level. See absolute altitude, true altitude.
In space navigation altitude designates distance from the mean surface of the reference body as contrasted to distance, which designates distance from the center of the reference body.


This article is based on NASA's Dictionary of Technical Terms for Aerospace Use