Diagram Of The Ecliptic And Equator

The only two points where the circle of the ecliptic and that of the equator can intersect are, of course, opposite to each other. These are the equinoctial points, marked Aries (T) and Libra (—). The solstitial points are those marked 2> and\)o. Now, it is evident that when the sun leaves Aries, or the vernal equinox, his pathway is continually upward, and until he teaches (23) Cancer, and there attains his highest point north of the celestial equator, as well as that of the earth (e e). This is the summer solstice. Leaving Cancer the sun begins to decline toward the south, descending through (¿1) Leo and (Aty) Virgo until he reaches (—) Libra, on the 23rd of September, which is the autumnal equinox. From this point the sun continues to descend through (fl|.) Scorpio and (X*1) Sagittarius until the winter solstice is reached, at (^o) Capri-cornus, December 23rd, where the sun has reached his lowest southern declination. He is now just as far south of the celestial equator as he was north of it at the summer solstice.

From Capricornus (\}o) the sun begins to ascend through (235) Aquarius and (H) Pisces until the vernal equinox is again reached. These four cardinal points, the two solstitial, together with the vernal and autumnal equinox, are therefore indicative of the four seasons of the year; for when the sun reaches the vernal equinox, spring begins; when he has advanced to the tropic of Cancer, the summer begins. His arrival at the other equinox marks the advent of autumn; and, when he at last reaches the tropic of Capricorn, winter begins.

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