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    Re: Lunar Distance in Wikipedia
    From: Frank Reed CT
    Date: 2007 Jul 24, 23:43 -0700

    Fred you wrote:
    > Another meaning for zenith given by the Oxford English Dictionary
    > (http://www.askoxford.com/concise_oed/zenith?view=uk) is "the highest
    > point in the sky reached by a given celestial object."  This is an
    > additional meaning to the point directly overhead.  However, both the
    > Wikipedia and Encyclopedia Britannica mention only the point directly
    > overhead.  It would appear the scientific usage is restricted to the
    > point directly overhead.
    
    Just remember that the OED also includes 'incorrect' usages since, by
    their standards, usage is king, and therefore there's almost no such
    thing as incorrect usage (apart from pure typographic errors). So, for
    example, "irregardless" is in the OED despite the fact that no one
    with any pride in their usage of English would be caught dead using
    it. For scientific terminology, there's clearly correct usage and
    incorrect usage. For the modern scientific use of the word, zenith,
    it's the point straight up, the single point 90 degrees away from the
    astronomical horizon. And by the way, that's the only way it's defined
    in the back of the modern Bowditch. Of course, "zenith" also has a
    metaphoric meaning in non-scientific usage: something is "at its
    zenith" when it has peaked in some sense, so you might read about the
    "Roman Empire at its zenith" or perhaps an "actor's career at its
    zenith". When that metaphoric usage is turned back and applied to the
    original astronomical case, then we see this odd idea of the "Sun at
    its zenith" when trying to say that it has reached its maximum
    altitude. No one trying to communicate navigational or astronomical
    concepts should use zenith that way. The zenith is straight up. That's
    all.
    
    -FER
    
    
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