Ecliptic meaning

ĭ-klĭptĭk
The plane defined by the earth's orbit projected onto the celestial sphere, along which the sun appears to move as viewed from the earth.
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A great circle inscribed on a terrestrial globe inclined at an approximate angle of 23°27' to the equator and representing the apparent motion of the sun in relation to the earth during a year.
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The plane defined by the earth's solar orbit, with the sun at its center, that extends throughout the solar system.
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The great circle on the celestial sphere intersecting the celestial equator at about 2312° and representing the changing position of the sun with respect to the background stars, as seen from the orbiting earth during one year.
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The plane of the earth's orbit extended infinitely.
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Of eclipses or the ecliptic.
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The great circle on the celestial sphere that represents the Sun's apparent path among the background stars in one year. The northernmost point this path reaches on the celestial sphere is the Tropic of Cancer, its southernmost point is the Tropic of Capricorn, and it crosses the celestial equator at the points of vernal and autumnal equinox. &diamf3; The plane of the ecliptic is the imaginary plane that intersects the celestial sphere along the ecliptic, and the north and south ecliptic poles are the points where a perpendicular line through the middle of this plane intersect the sphere. The plane of the ecliptic corresponds to the plane in which the Earth orbits the Sun. If the Earth's axis were not tilted, the ecliptic would be identical to the celestial equator and the ecliptic poles identical to the celestial poles. In this case, the Sun's path would not move northward or southward from the equator during the year. As it is, the plane of the celestial equator is tilted 23.45° to the plane of the ecliptic, corresponding to the tilt of the Earth's axis with respect to its orbital plane, giving the Sun its apparent northward and southward movement among the background stars.
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(astronomy) The apparent path of the Sun in the sky. More accurately, it is the intersection of the celestial sphere with the plane of the ecliptic, which is the geometric plane containing the mean orbit of the Earth around the Sun. So named because an eclipse can occur only when the Moon lies on this plane.
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(geometry) A great circle drawn on a terrestrial globe, used for illustrating and solving astronomical problems.
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Origin of ecliptic

  • Middle English ecliptik from Medieval Latin (līnea) eclīptica ecliptic (line) from Latin eclīpticus of an eclipse from Greek ekleiptikos from ekleipein to fail to appear eclipse

    From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition