We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What Is the Angle of Elevation?

By C.B. Fox
Updated May 21, 2024
Our promise to you
All The Science is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At All The Science, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

The angle of elevation is the measure of the angle formed by the horizontal plane in which an observer is located and an object above the horizontal plane. The observer stands at the vertex of the angle. The intersection of the rays of the angle with the vertical line from the object to the horizontal plane form a right triangle. There are a number of ways to determine this angle, given a known height and distance, and devices such as sextants can be used to measure the angle. Given a known angle of elevation, it is possible to determine the height and distance of the observed object.

If the observer is directly below the object whose angle of elevation is being measured, the angle is 90 degrees. An object on the same horizontal plane as the observer has an elevation of zero degrees. The measure of the angle of elevation can fall anywhere between these two values.

Though the sextant is the tool traditionally used to measure the angle of elevation of celestial objects for navigational purposes, it can be used to determine the angle of elevation of any object. To use a sextant, the observer holds the tool up to one eye and points it towards the elevated object. Degree markings on the sextant indicate the angle formed by the horizontal plane of the observer and the intersecting ray that points toward the elevated object.

The geometrical and mathematical concepts associated with right triangles can be used to determine unknown values of distance and angle, and simple trigonometry can be used to solve for unknown values as long as at least two are known. If the height of the object and the distance between the observer are known, the angle of elevation can be determined by finding the tangent of the angle — the ratio of height to distance. If the angle and either height or distance are known, the unknown can be determined in the same fashion. It is also possible to determine the angle of elevation when given only one known value, though this requires the use of more advanced trigonometric concepts.

All The Science is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
All The Science, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

All The Science, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.