Ecliptic

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Ecliptic is the plane in space which contains the Sun, Earth, and the other major planets:[1]

The solar system is rather flat, with all its major parts moving in nearly the same plane.

The path of the Sun across the celestial sphere is very close to that of the planets and the moon. After clocks became available, it was a relatively straightforward job for astronomers to relate the path of the Sun in the daytime to the one of stars at night, and to draw it on their star charts. Because of its relation to eclipses, that path is known as the ecliptic.

References

  1. http://www.phy6.org/stargaze/Secliptc.htm
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