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Great circle that is the apparent path of the Sun among the constellations in the course of a year; from another viewpoint, the projection on the celestial sphere of the orbit of Earth around the Sun, which intersects the plane of the celestial equator at the vernal and autumnal equinoxes. The constellations of the zodiac are arranged along the ecliptic.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on ecliptic, visit Britannica.com.