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Latitude, denoted φ, gives the location of a place on Earth north or south of the Equator. Latitude is an angular measurement ranging from 0 at the Equator to 90 at the poles.

Usually, the difference in latitude largely affects the climate and/or weather of regions.

Other latitudes of particular importance are the Tropic of Cancer (latitude 23°27' north), the Tropic of Capricorn (latitude 23°27' south), the Arctic Circle (latitude 66°33' north), and the Antarctic Circle (latitude 66°33' south). Only at latitudes between the Tropics is it possible for the sun to be at the zenith. Only north of the Arctic Circle or south of the Antarctic Circle is the midnight sun possible.

All locations of a given latitude are collectively referred to as a line of latitude or parallel, because they are coplanar, and all such planess are parallel to the Equator. A line of latitude is approximately a small circle on the surface of the Earth; except at the Equator, it is not a geodesic since the shortest route between two points at the same latitude usually involves moving further away from the equator.

Latitude more loosely determines tendencies in climate, polar auroras, prevailing winds, and other physical characteristics of geographic locations.

Each degree of latitude is further sub-divided into 60 "minutes". In navigation a minute may be sub-divided into tenths. Thus a fully qualified latitude may be expressed thus; 23° 27'.5 S

A specific latitude may then be combined with a specific longitude to give a precise position on the Earth's surface.

One minute of arc of latitude is approximately one nautical mile.

Colatitude is the complement of latitude.

See also:

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