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1. The apparent path of the sun among the stars over the course of the year. The ecliptic is the great circle of the celestial sphere which is cut by the plane of the earth's orbit.
2. A great circle inscribed on a terrestrial globe inclined at an approximate angle of 23°26′ to the equator and representing the apparent motion of the sun in relation to the earth during a year.
3. The plane defined by the earth's solar orbit, with the sun at its center, that extends throughout the solar system.
[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; see eclipse.]
1. (Astronomy) astronomy
a. the great circle on the celestial sphere representing the apparent annual path of the sun relative to the stars. It is inclined at 23.45° to the celestial equator. The poles of the ecliptic lie on the celestial sphere due north and south of the plane of the ecliptic
b. (as modifier): the ecliptic plane.
2. (Navigation) an equivalent great circle, opposite points of which pass through the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn, on the terrestrial globe
(Astronomy) of or relating to an eclipse
1. the great circle formed by the intersection of the plane of the earth's orbit with the celestial sphere; the apparent annual path of the sun in the heavens.
2. an analogous great circle on a terrestrial globe.adj.
3. of or pertaining to an eclipse.
4. of or pertaining to the ecliptic.Also, e•clip′ti•cal.
[1350–1400; Middle English < Medieval Latin eclīptica, feminine of eclīpticus < Greek ekleiptikós]
The great circle on the celestial sphere that is made by the plane containing Earth's orbit around the sun. The ecliptic traces the sun's apparent path in the sky in one year, as viewed from Earth.
The Sun’s apparent path across the sky.
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|Noun||1.||ecliptic - 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"|
great circle - a circular line on the surface of a sphere formed by intersecting it with a plane passing through the center