# How can absolute value of azimuth exceed distance from pole?

I'm sure I'm just doing something dumb, but:

• Yildun has a declination of approximately 86.5. This puts it 3.5 degrees from the celestial north pole.

• Per the snapshot below, Yildun's azimuth can be as high as 4.17 degrees.

• Since the celestial north pole always has an azimuth of 0, wouldn't this put Yildun 4.17 degrees from the pole, contradicting the distance calculated from declination?

What am I missing?

EDIT: I thought I'd figured this out:

• On Earth, one degree of latitude is not the same as one degree of longitude (except at the equator).

• Analogously, in the sky, one declination degree is not the same as one right ascension degree.

I thought the situation for right ascension applied to azimuth, but it doesn't.

Both azimuth and declination are measured on "great circles" (declination is measured on a half circle, but same general idea), so degrees in azimuth should equal degrees in declination.

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What is the latitude of the observer? – asawyer Dec 10 '13 at 19:21
Oh, this is stellarium's default for Albuquerque, NM, which is about 35N and -106.5W. However, I think this question is latitude independent. – barrycarter Dec 10 '13 at 20:26