zenith, in astronomy, the point in the sky directly overhead; more precisely, it is the point at which the celestial sphere is intersected by an upward extension of a plumb line from the observer's location. Its position in the sky thus depends on the direction of the earth's gravitational field at the observer's location. The zenith is a reference point in the altazimuth coordinate system; its altitude above the celestial horizon is 90°. The angular distance from the zenith to a celestial body is called the zenith distance. The nadir, directly opposite the zenith, has a zenith distance of 180°; the celestial horizon has a zenith distance of 90°.