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Sun, Moon and Earth

25 24 the moonS nodeS the path of the moon crosses that of the sun The orbit of the Moon is tilted with respect to that of the Earth by an angle of 5.14o see page 12. The effect is that the Moon travels above the ecliptic the apparent path of the Sun around the zodiac for about half the sidereal month, and travels beneath it for the other half. The two places where the Moon crosses the ecliptic each month are called the lunar nodes and they always lie opposite each other. The smaller illustrations show these crossing points as observed from the Earth but in truth, they are invisible Eclipses only happen when a full or new moon occurs within 12 o or 18 o respectively of the nodes, total eclipses when the alignment is almost exact. These are the eclipse limits for lunar and solar eclipses. The axis of the nodes moves backwards around the calendar, taking 18.618 years 6800 days to complete a circuit. It thus moves 19.618 days per year. To the ancients the nodes were thought of as the head and tail of a huge celestial dragon which swallowed the Moon or Sun during an eclipse. The nodal period is still known as the Draconic year. The Sun meets a node every 173.3 days an eclipse season it meets a particular node after two of these periods have elapsed, this both defining and completing the eclipse year of 346.62 days. Is it not the strangest thing that 346.62 18.618 x 18.618 1 2 1 2
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