The Sun's apparent path in the sky relative to the stars in the course of a year. It is also the projection of the Earth's orbital plane onto the → celestial sphere. Because of the inclination of the → Earth's rotation axis, the ecliptic is tilted by about 23.4° with respect to the → celestial equator, an angle known as the → obliquity of the ecliptic. The ecliptic crosses the celestial equator at the → equinoxes.
From L. ecliptica linea "path of eclipses," so called because eclipses happen only when the Moon is near this path, from eclipsis, → eclipse.
Hurpeh "sun path," from hur "sun," variant xor, cognate with Gk. helios, → Sun, + peh "path, way," from O.Pers. paθi- "path, way;" Av. paθ-, variants paθi-, paθā-, pantay-; Mid/Mod.Pers. pand "path, advice, councel;" Khotanese pande "road, path;" Ossetic fœndœg "path, road;" cf. Skt. pánthā- "road, path, course;" Gk. patos "path, way;" L. pons "bridge, path;" E. find; PIE base *pent- "to go, to tread."
Fr.: latitude écliptique
One of the two coordinates in the → ecliptic system; the angle measured from the ecliptic, positive toward the north.
Fr.: longitude écliptique
Fr.: plan de l'écliptique
The plane of Earth's orbit around the Sun.
Fr.: pole de l'écliptique
Either of the two points on the celestial sphere that are 90° above and below the plane of ecliptic. The north ecliptic pole lies in → Draco, and the south ecliptic pole in → Dorado. Due to → precession, the → celestial pole moves in a circle around the ecliptic poles once every 25,800 years.
Fr.: système écliptique
Coordinate system with the ecliptic as the fundamental plane.
lunar ecliptic limit
hadd-e hurpehi-ye mâh
Fr.: limite écliptique de la Lune
The farthest distance from a → lunar orbit node within which, if the Moon happens to be at full, a lunar eclipse may occur. The lunar ecliptic limit extends about 12° on each side of the node.
obliquity of the ecliptic
Fr.: obliquité de l'écliptique
The angle between the Earth's → equatorial plane and the → ecliptic. Its present value is 23°26'13.5'' (or 23.43708 degrees). The effects of → precession and → nutation cause it to change between extreme values of 22.1 and 24.5 degrees over a period of approximately 41,000 years. It is currently decreasing.
precession of the ecliptic
Fr.: précession de l'écliptique
The component of general precession caused by the gravitational attraction of the planets on the Earth's center of mass. It causes the equinox to move eastward by about 0''.12 per year in the opposite direction to the → precession of the equator. This terminology replaces → planetary precession, according to an IAU resolution adopted in August 2006.
solar ecliptic limit
hadd-e hurpehi-ye xoršid
Fr.: limite écliptique du Soleil
The greatest angular distance from a → lunar orbit node within which a → solar eclipse may occur when the Sun and Moon are in conjunction there. The solar ecliptic limit extends about 17° on each side of the node.