The ecliptic or ecliptic plane is the orbital plane of Earth around the Sun.[1][2][lower-alpha 1] From the perspective of an observer on Earth, the Sun's movement around the celestial sphere over the course of a year traces out a path along the ecliptic against the background of stars.[3] The ecliptic is an important reference plane and is the basis of the ecliptic coordinate system.

As seen from the orbiting Earth, the Sun appears to move with respect to the fixed stars, and the ecliptic is the yearly path the Sun follows on the celestial sphere. This process repeats itself in a cycle lasting a little over 365 days.

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