<h1><SPAN name="gl" id="gl">Glossary.</SPAN></h1>
<br/>The point in the orbit of a celestial body when it is furthest from
<br/>An extremity of the major axis of the orbit of a body; a body is at
its greatest and least distances from the body about which it revolves,
when at one or other apse.
<br/>When a plane containing the earth’s axis and passing through
the centre of the sun also passes through that of the moon or a planet,
at the same side of the earth, the moon or planet is in conjunction, or
if on opposite sides of the earth, the moon or planet is in opposition.
Mercury and Venus cannot be in opposition, but are in inferior or
superior conjunction according as they are nearer or further than the
<br/>In the epicyclic theory, uneven motion is represented by motion
round a circle whose centre travels round another circle, the latter is
called the deferent.
<br/>The plane of the earth’s orbital motion about the sun, which
cuts the heavens in a great circle. It is so called because obviously
eclipses can only occur when the moon is also approximately in this
plane, besides being in conjunction or opposition with the sun.
<br/>Epicycle: <br/>A point moving on the circumference of a circle
whose centre describes another circle, traces an epicycle with reference
to the centre of the second circle.
<br/>In Ptolemy’s excentric theory, when a planet is describing a
circle about a centre which is not the earth, in order to satisfy the
convention that the motion must be uniform, a point was found about
which the motion was apparently uniform,<span class="fn-marker"><SPAN href="#fn-4" class="link"></SPAN></span> and this point was called the
<SPAN name="fn-4" id="fn-4">
<span class="fn-label">Footnote 4:</span>
I.e. the <em>angular</em> motion about the equant was uniform.</SPAN></div>
<br/>When the sun is in the plane of the earth’s equator the lengths
of day and night are equal. This happens twice a year, and the times
when the sun passes the equator are called the vernal or spring
equinox and the autumnal equinox respectively.
<br/>The second inequality of the moon, which vanishes at new and
full moon and is a maximum at first and last quarter.
<br/>As an alternative to epicycles, planets whose motion round
the earth was not uniform could be represented as moving round a
point some distance from the earth called the excentric.
<br/>Referred to the centre of the earth; e.g. Ptolemy’s theory.
<br/>Referred to the centre of the sun; e.g. the theory
commonly called Copernican.
<br/>The difference between the actual position of a planet and
its theoretical position on the hypothesis of uniform circular
<br/>The points where the orbit of the moon or a planet intersect the
plane of the ecliptic. The ascending node is the one when the planet
is moving northwards, and the line of intersection of the orbital
plane with the ecliptic is the line of nodes.
<br/>Usually means when a planet or star is hidden by the moon,
but it also includes “occultation” of a star by a planet or of a
satellite by a planet or of one planet by another.
<br/>The error introduced by observing from some point other than
that required in theory, e.g. in geocentric places because the
observations are made from the surface of the earth instead of the
centre, or in heliocentric places because observations are made from
the earth and not from the sun.
<br/>The point in the orbit of a celestial body when it is nearest
to the earth.
<br/>Owing to the slow motion of the earth’s pole around the pole
of the ecliptic, the equator cuts the ecliptic a little earlier
every year, so that the equinox each year slightly precedes, with
reference to the stars, that of the previous year.
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