I'm writing software to calculate the rising, transit, and setting of a body on the celestial sphere for a specific location and date. It seems to me that the opposite of transit, at least in the case of the Sun and for circumpolar stars, would also be of importance.

In the northern hemisphere this would be the time when a circumpolar star would pass through the line between the celestial north pole and true north, and be at its lowest height above the horizon.

Is there an antonym (opposite) for the word transit?


1 Answer 1


The transit of a star when it reaches its highest point is called the upper culmination and when it reaches its lowest point is called the lower culmination. I think both are referred to as meridian transits.

  • $\begingroup$ Which would mean that both events are transits and are distinguished between each other by the more precise terms, upper and lower culmination. Is that correct? When the lower culmination happens below the horizon, would that still be called the lower culmination. (If applied to the Sun, this time denotes the time of local midnight I guess.) $\endgroup$
    – Dieudonné
    Nov 2, 2020 at 21:47
  • $\begingroup$ Yes, Dieudonné, that is correct, and yes, the term “lower culmination” also applies when it’s below the horizon. $\endgroup$ May 13, 2021 at 1:42

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