A minute of arc, arcminute, arc minute, or minute arc is a unit of angular measurement equal to 1/60 of one degree. Since one degree is 1/360 of a turn, one minute of arc is 1/21600 of a turn, a second of arc, arcsecond, or arc second is 1/60 of an arcminute, 1/3600 of a degree, 1/1296000 of a turn, and π/648000 of a radian. To express even smaller angles, standard SI prefixes can be employed, the number of square arcminutes in a complete sphere is 4 π2 =466560000 π ≈148510660 square arcminutes. The standard symbol for marking the arcminute is the prime, though a single quote is used where only ASCII characters are permitted. One arcminute is thus written 1′ and it is also abbreviated as arcmin or amin or, less commonly, the prime with a circumflex over it. The standard symbol for the arcsecond is the prime, though a double quote is commonly used where only ASCII characters are permitted. One arcsecond is thus written 1″ and it is also abbreviated as arcsec or asec. In celestial navigation, seconds of arc are used in calculations. This notation has been carried over into marine GPS receivers, which normally display latitude and longitude in the format by default. An arcsecond is approximately the angle subtended by a U. S. dime coin at a distance of 4 kilometres, a milliarcsecond is about the size of a dime atop the Eiffel Tower as seen from New York City. A microarcsecond is about the size of a period at the end of a sentence in the Apollo mission manuals left on the Moon as seen from Earth, since antiquity the arcminute and arcsecond have been used in astronomy. The principal exception is Right ascension in equatorial coordinates, which is measured in units of hours, minutes. These small angles may also be written in milliarcseconds, or thousandths of an arcsecond, the unit of distance, the parsec, named from the parallax of one arcsecond, was developed for such parallax measurements. It is the distance at which the radius of the Earths orbit would subtend an angle of one arcsecond. The ESA astrometric space probe Gaia is hoped to measure star positions to 20 microarcseconds when it begins producing catalog positions sometime after 2016, there are about 1.3 trillion µas in a turn. Currently the best catalog positions of stars actually measured are in terms of milliarcseconds, apart from the Sun, the star with the largest angular diameter from Earth is R Doradus, a red supergiant with a diameter of 0.05 arcsecond. The dwarf planet Pluto has proven difficult to resolve because its angular diameter is about 0.1 arcsecond, space telescopes are not affected by the Earths atmosphere but are diffraction limited. For example, the Hubble space telescope can reach a size of stars down to about 0. 1″
An illustration of the size of an arcminute. A standard association football ball (22 cm diameter) subtends an angle of 1 arcminute at a distance of approximately 775 meters.
Example ballistic table for a given 7.62×51mm NATO load. Bullet drop and wind drift are shown both in mil and minute of angle.
Comparison of milliradian (mil) and minute of arc (moa).
Comparison of angular diameter of the Sun, Moon, planets and the International Space Station. True representation of the sizes is achieved when the image is viewed at a distance of 103 times the width of the "Moon: max." circle. For example, if the "Moon: max." circle is 10 cm wide on a monitor, viewing it from 10.3 m away will show true representation of the sizes.