## Minutes

**Abbreviation/Symbol:**

MOA

arcmin

**Worldwide use:**

Minute is a unit of measurement commonly used worldwide in various fields such as astronomy, navigation, and geometry. It is primarily used to measure angles, particularly small ones, and is a subdivision of degrees. One degree is divided into 60 minutes, and each minute is further divided into 60 seconds.

In astronomy, minutes (angular) are used to measure the apparent size of celestial objects, such as the Moon or planets, as well as the angular distance between them. This is crucial for astronomers to accurately determine the positions and movements of celestial bodies.

In navigation, minutes (angular) play a vital role in determining the direction and bearing of a ship or aircraft. By using instruments like a sextant or compass, navigators can measure the angle between a celestial body, such as the Sun or a star, and the horizon. This angle, expressed in minutes, helps determine the vessel's position and course.

In geometry, minutes (angular) are used to measure the size of angles in various shapes and figures. They provide a precise way to describe the amount of rotation or inclination between two lines or planes.

**Definition:**

Minutes, in the context of angular measurement, refer to a unit used to measure angles. An angle is formed when two lines or rays intersect, and minutes are a way to further divide and measure these angles. The term "minutes" in this context is derived from the Latin word "minutus," meaning small or minute.

In the system of angular measurement, a degree is divided into 60 equal parts called minutes. Each minute is further divided into 60 seconds. This system allows for precise measurement and calculation of angles, especially in fields such as astronomy, navigation, and engineering.

Minutes (angular) are denoted by the symbol ' (apostrophe) and are commonly used alongside degrees to express angles. For example, an angle of 45 degrees and 30 minutes would be written as 45° 30'. This notation helps to differentiate between degrees and minutes, ensuring accurate representation of angles.

**Origin:**

The origin of minutes as a unit of measurement can be traced back to ancient Babylonian and Egyptian civilizations. These early civilizations were keen astronomers and used the concept of angles to measure the positions of celestial bodies. They divided a circle into 360 degrees, with each degree further divided into 60 minutes.

The division of a degree into minutes was likely influenced by the Babylonians' use of a base-60 number system, known as sexagesimal. This system was highly convenient for calculations involving fractions and divisions, as it allowed for easy representation of fractions such as 1/2 (30), 1/3 (20), 1/4 (15), 1/6 (10), 1/10 (6) and 1/12 (5). The concept of minutes as a unit of angular measurement was later adopted by the Greeks and Romans, who further developed the field of astronomy.

**Common references:**

There are 60 minutes in a degree.

Each minute can be subdivided in 60 seconds.

**Usage context:**

In navigation, minutes (angular) are crucial for determining the precise location of a vessel or aircraft. By using a sextant or other navigational instruments, sailors and pilots can measure the angle between a celestial body, such as the sun or a star, and the horizon. This angle, expressed in minutes, helps them calculate their latitude and longitude, enabling them to navigate accurately across vast distances.

Minutes (angular) are also significant in astronomy, where they are used to measure the apparent size of celestial objects or the distance between stars. Astronomers use telescopes and specialized instruments to observe and measure these angles, aiding in the study of celestial bodies and their movements.