(angle between plane of an orbit and a reference plane)
An orbital inclination is the angle between the plane of an
orbit and a given reference plane. For example, the orbital inclination
of an Earth satellite might be given using the plane of
the Earth's equator as a reference, or alternately the plane of the
Moon's orbit. The inclination of a solar system
planet's orbit is often
given using the ecliptic as a reference.
The term is often used for binary stars and extra-solar planets using the
plane of reference to be a plane perpendicular to the line of sight
from Earth (the plane of the sky).
- The Moon's orbit can be described by an inclination as compared to the plane of Earth's equator (the ecliptic, 5.14°).
- The Earth's orbit can be described by an inclination as compared to the Sun's equator (7.155°).
- A transiting planet (exoplanet) has an orbital inclination close to 90° (compared to the plane perpendicular to our line of sight).
Referenced by pages:
Kuiper Belt (K Belt)
mass ratio (μ)
minimum mass (m sin i)
Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9
Solar Orbiter (SolO)
trans-Neptunian object (TNO)