ecliptic
  • noun the apparent path of the Sun’s annual motion relative to the stars, shown as a circle passing through the centre of the imaginary sphere (celestial sphere) containing all the planets and stars
  • The path of the Sun in the sky, tilted at about 23° to the celestial equator. Because the other planets orbit the Sun in about the same plane as the Earth, they also stick close to the ecliptic from the point of view of Earthly observers. The plane of the ecliptic is the imaginary flat surface in space made by the Earth’s orbit, and the points geometrically north and south of it on the celestial sphere are the poles of the ecliptic – the northern is in Draco and the southern in Dorado.

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