Encyclopedia > Ecliptic coordinate system

  Article Content

Ecliptic coordinate system

The ecliptic coordinate system is a celestial coordinate system that uses the ecliptic for its fundamental plane[?]. The ecliptic is the path that the sun appears to follow across the sky over the course of a year. It is also the projection of the Earth's orbital plane onto the celestial sphere. The latitudinal angle is called the ecliptic latitude[?], and the longitudinal angle is called the ecliptic longitude[?]. Like right ascension in the equatorial coordinate system, the zeropoint[?] of the ecliptic longitude is the vernal equinox.

What do you think such a coordinate system would be useful for? If you guessed charting solar system objects, you're right! Each of the planets (except Pluto) orbits the sun in roughly the same plane, so they always appear to be somewhere near the ecliptic (i.e., they always have small ecliptic latitudes).

This article originates from Jason Harris' Astroinfo which comes along with KStars, a Desktop Planetarium for Linux/KDE. See http://edu.kde.org/kstars/index.phtml

All Wikipedia text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License

  Search Encyclopedia

Search over one million articles, find something about almost anything!
  Featured Article
Sanskrit language

... But it is clear that the language of the Vedas is distinct from that of the Indus Valley. To date the script on the seals of the Indus Valley civilisation have ...

This page was created in 31.7 ms