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4.3: The Ecliptic

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  • 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.

    Path of the Earth
    Figure \(\PageIndex{1}\): The orbit of the Earth around the Sun. This is a perspective view, the shape of the actual orbit is very close to a circle.
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