Definition of ecliptic in English:

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Pronunciation: /əˈkliptik/


A great circle on the celestial sphere representing the sun’s apparent path during the year, so called because lunar and solar eclipses can occur only when the moon crosses it.
Example sentences
  • An eclipse occurs only if the Moon crosses the ecliptic when very close to either conjunction or opposition, respectively producing solar and lunar eclipses.
  • The Moon's Nodes are points in space representing the points where the moon's orbit around the earth crosses the ecliptic.
  • The other planets though also move across the sky on paths close to the ecliptic.


Of an eclipse or the ecliptic.
Example sentences
  • Lunar eclipses occur at the time of a Full Moon, and when the Moon is near one of the nodes of intersection between its orbit and the ecliptic plane.
  • Another eight years later the node has moved beyond the ecliptic limit, and no transit can take place.
  • Second, and more significant, eclipses do not necessarily occur precisely on the node, but rather there is a range of possible positions called the ecliptic limits.


Late Middle English: via Latin from Greek ekleiptikos, from ekleipein 'fail to appear' (see eclipse).

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: e·clip·tic

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