The ecliptic is the orbit of Earth as viewed from the Sun. For most astrological purposes, however, the ecliptic is taken to be the orbit that the Sun appears to describe around the Earth (the via solis, or the Sun's path). The via solis acquired the name ecliptic because it is along its path, at the points where it intersects the celestial
equator (the equator of the Earth projected outward onto the background of the celestial sphere) that eclipses occur. Owing to the tilt of the Earth on its axis, the ecliptic intersects the celestial equator at an angle of 231/2°. The 12 signs of the zodiac, through which the Sun appears to pass over the course of a year, lie around the outside of the ecliptic.
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