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precession of the equinoxes

Syllabification: pre·ces·sion of the e·qui·nox·es

Definition of precession of the equinoxes in English:

noun

Astronomy
1The slow retrograde, or westward, motion of equinoctial points along the ecliptic.
Example sentences
  • Because of the precession of the equinoxes, the equinox and solstice points have each moved westward about 30 degrees in the last 2,000 years.
  • He was not the first Chinese astronomer to discover the precession of the equinoxes (Yu Xi did so in the fourth century) but he was the first to take this into account in calendar calculations.
  • About fifty years after Liu's remarkable contributions, a major advance was made in astronomy when Yu Xi discovered the precession of the equinoxes.

As the earth rotates about its axis, it responds to the gravitational attraction of the sun upon its equatorial bulge, so that its axis of rotation describes a circle in the sky, with a period of about 26,000 years. The precession of the equinoxes was discovered by Hipparchus in circa 125 bc, when the vernal equinox was in Aries

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