Kepler's third law therefore expresses the fact that the mass of the sun is the same for all the planets, and deviates from the truth only to the extent that the masses of the latter differ from each other by quantities which are only a small fraction of the mass of the sun.
These conditions are: - (I) The smallness of the masses of the planets in comparison with that of the sun, in consequence of which the orbit of each planet deviates but slightly from an ellipse during any one revolution; (2) the fact that the orbits of the planets are nearly circular, and the planes of their orbits but slightly inclined to each other.
Owing to the action of the moon on the earth, as it performs its monthly revolution in an orbit slightly inclined to the ecliptic, the centre of the earth itself deviates from the plane of the ecliptic in a period equal to that of the nodal revolution of the moon.
Owing to the action of the planets, especially Venus and Jupiter, on the earth, the centre of gravity of the earth and moon deviates by a yet minuter amount, generally one or two tenths of a second, from the plane of the ecliptic proper.
The text of Lamentations, however, so often deviates from it, that we can only affirm the tendency of the poet to cast his couplets into this type (Driver).