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Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
▪ Celestial equator is not the same circle as degrees ecliptic and not.
The Collaborative International Dictionary

ecliptic \e*clip"tic\ ([-e]*kl[i^]p"t[i^]k), n. [Cf. F. ['e]cliptique, L. linea ecliptica, Gr. 'ekleiptiko`s, prop. adj., of an eclipse, because in this circle eclipses of the sun and moon take place. See Ecliptic, a.]

  1. (Astron.) A great circle of the celestial sphere, making an angle with the equinoctial of about 23[deg] 28'. It is the apparent path of the sun, or the real path of the earth as seen from the sun.

  2. (Geog.) A great circle drawn on a terrestrial globe, making an angle of 23[deg] 28' with the equator; -- used for illustrating and solving astronomical problems.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

"the circle in the sky followed by the Sun," late 14c., from Medieval Latin ecliptica, from Late Latin (linea) ecliptica, from Greek ekliptikos "of an eclipse" (see eclipse (n.)). So called because eclipses happen only when the Moon is near the line. Related: Ecliptical.


n. 1 (context astronomy English) 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. 2 (context geometry English) A great circle drawn on a terrestrial globe, used for illustrating and solving astronomical problems.


n. the great circle representing the apparent annual path of the sun; the plane of the Earth's orbit around the sun; makes an angle of about 23 degrees with the equator; "all of the planets rotate the sun in approximately the same ecliptic"


Usage examples of "ecliptic".

The points on the ecliptic where it crosses are called the ascending node and the descending node, or caput draconis and cauda draconisthat is, the head and the tail of the dragon.

Its axis is almost perpendicular to its plane of the ecliptic, which means it has no seasons.

The strength of the sun was turned against itself, so that all these activities, flares, prominences, and sunspots, were defeated, and turbulence in the energy flow was deflected poleward, away from the plane of the ecliptic, where human civilization was gathered.

However, many of them had orbits well outside the ecliptic and that helped to make the search every bit as difficult as it would have been with a greater number of comet nuclei but in a more planar cloud.

The ecliptics intersected 644 and 1428 terrestrial years after apastron or, in Helliconian terms, 453 and 1005 years after apastron.

The planets we call wandering stars because they move through the fixed stars along the ecliptic, along the path through the stars that we also call the world dragon that binds the heavens.

Thorpe belatedly realized, the very fact that he had been looking to divert the comet from Earth guaranteed that the program would choose asteroids with orbits already in the ecliptic.

The two dimensions of the ecliptic plane are relatively crowded with worlds and their satellites, and the cosmic debris of meteors, asteroids, and comets.

The ship began decelerating almost as soon as it left the Jovian magnetosphere, so their great ballistic arc above the plane of the ecliptic to Mars on the far side of the sun would take several standard days rather than hours.

It was coming in at about a thirty-degree angle with respect to the plane the planets orbited in, the ecliptic.

South to north the moon ascends across the ecliptic, and that is the caput dra-conis, the head of the dragon.

The points on the ecliptic where it crosses are called the ascending node and the descending node, or caput draconis and cauda draconisthat is, the head and the tail of the dragon.

The Hermes, having climbed above the ecliptic, plummeted like a stone toward Hades, initially retreating from the star of its destination in order to reach it more easily, at the gravitational cost of the collapsar: circling the collapsar, it received from its field a hefty push.

When you see the Beta Canis Majoris on the left you blink on the giant Cepheid on an angle of thirty-five to the galactic ecliptic to Auriga and after that it's a matter of blinking by the seat of your pants.

Ringed around the ecliptic, in a starry belt that extends approximately 7° north and south, are the twelve constellations of the zodiac: Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpius, Sagittarius, Capricornus, Aquarius and Pisces.