INCLINATION

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INCLINATION, in mathematics, means the direction of a line, with regard to a certain point (according to the sense of the ancient mathematicians, Apollonius and Pappus particularly). In astronomy, this word signifies the angle which the orbits of the planets and comets make with the ecliptic or orbit of the earth. This angle is the smaller, the less the planet or comet is distant from the ecliptic. According to the latest observations of Lalande and Bode, this angle of inclination is, in the different planets, as follows:Mercury 7°, Venus 3° 23' 20", Mars 1° 5V, Pallas about 30°, Ceres 10° 47", Jupiter 1° 19' 10",Saturn 2° 30/ 20", Uranus 0° 43' 45". More exact determinations with regard to Ceres, Pallas, Juno and Vesta may be expected at some future period. The comets make frequently very great angles with the ecliptic, for they traverse the heavens in all directions. The inclination of the moon's path is different, according as the sun affects it differently, but it is between 5° V and 5° 17'. (For the inclination of the magnetic needle, see Magnetic Needle.)