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  • noun

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the great circle representing the apparent annual path of the sun

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Venus' orbital plane is inclined with respect to Earth's orbital plane (which is called "the plane of the ecliptic").
At the beginning of the Almagest, Ptolemy reviews the nature of this universe from the point of view of a professional astronomer: The spherical earth is motionless at the center of the cosmos; it is immensely far from the sphere of the fixed stars, the outermost limit of the cosmos; there are two primary motions in the cosmos, the motion of the whole from east to west in the plane of the earth's equator, and the contrary motion of the seven celestial bodies (moon, Mercury, Venus, Sun, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn in order of increasing distance from the earth) from west to east in the plane of the ecliptic (the path of the sun).
He determined that all of them circled the sun in a clockwise or retrograde direction, in orbits titled about 40[deg.] to the plane of the ecliptic and with the orbits' major axes aligned in the same direction.
Springtime finds Comet McNaught moving north in its highly inclined orbit, which is tilted 77[degrees] to the plane of the ecliptic. In mid-May the comet is still only about 10th magnitude, cutting the southeastern corner of the Great Square of Pegasus and rising about an hour before the start of astronomical twilight for mid-northern observers.