celestial horizon, one axis of the altazimuth coordinate system. It is the great circle on the celestial sphere midway between the observer's zenith and nadir; it divides the celestial sphere into two equal hemispheres. The observer may be unable to see all the stars that lie above his celestial horizon because of obstructions such as buildings, trees, or mountains; he may be able to see some stars that lie below his celestial horizon because of atmospheric refraction.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.