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How is the ecliptic and galatic disk of the Milkyway oriented to each other?

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  • Dr Bob
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    The answer is that they are inclined by 60.2 degrees. Here's how you get this:

    The celestial coordinates of the pole of the ecliptic are

    (alpha1, delta1) = (18 hours, 90-23.4393 degrees)

    = (270 degrees, 66.6 degrees)

    The number 23.4393 is the inclination of the earth's axis to the ecliptic (also called "the obliquity of the ecliptic").

    According the the Observer's Handbook, the celestial coordinates of the north pole of the Milky Way are

    (alpha2, delta2) = (12 h 51 m, 27 deg 8 min)

    =(192.8 degrees, 27.1 degrees)

    To calculate the inclination between the ecliptic and the Milky Way disk (i.e., the galactic plane), we need to calculate the distance between the ecliptic pole and galactic pole. This is done with the following spherical-trigonometry formula for the angle between two points on a sphere:

    angle = arccos (sin (delta1) * sin (delta2) + cos (delta1) * cos (delta2) * cos (alpha1-alpha2))

    If you plug in the above numbers, you get

    angle = 60.2 degrees

    This is the inclination between the ecliptic and the galactic plane.

    • Jim6 years agoReport

      This is one of the best answers I've ever seen!

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  • 6 years ago

    Dr. Bob has the right answer: the ecliptic is inclined at an angle of 60.19 - 62.6 degrees relative to the galactic plane.

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  • Brant
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    The galactic equator is highly inclined to the ecliptic. Something along about 70 degrees.

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  • 1 decade ago

    I agree with the above answer. Highly inclined. It looks like about 70 or 80 degrees if you just glance at a star chart.

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  • Leah
    Lv 4
    4 years ago

    Snickers

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  • 1 decade ago

    KBW3 has the answer above

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