Astronomical Dictionary
Letter: Z


Dictionary of Astronomical Definitions and Terms.
Astronomical | Z

 

Definition


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Zenith
The point on the celestial sphere directly above an observer, or the highest point in the sky reached by a celestial body.
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Zenithal Hourly Rate
It is the number of meteors per hour, for a particular stream, that is estimated will be seen under favourable seeing conditions if the radiant were directly overhead the observer. Usually the actual figure is less than this.
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Zodiac
A circular band extending about 9? on either side of the Ecliptic; thus, an 18?-wide band. The word comes from the Greek, Zoon, meaning animal, which is also the root for our word zoo. In ancient times, the zodiac was known as the "circle of beasts", which began with the constellation Taurus. In Job 38:32 the zodiac is called Maz'-za-roth. The signs of the Zodiac are: Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius, and Pisces. The constellations of the Zodiac are the same except for: Scorpius and Capricornus.
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Zodiacal Light
A faint glow from light scattered off interplanetary dust in the plane of the ecliptic. Best seen at tropical latitudes on the Earth.
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