Pertaining to spring. The corresponding adjectives for summer, fall, and winter are aestival, autumnal, and hibernal.

Related Terms


1. The angular distance in the ecliptic from the vernal equinox to the ascending node of the orbit. 2. The angular distance, always measured eastward, in the plane of the celestial equator from Greenwich through 360°.


Vernal equinox. Also called FIRST POINT OF ARIES


Angular distance east of the vernal equinox, along the ecliptic; the arc of the ecliptic or the angle at the ecliptic pole between the circle of latitude of the vernal equinox at the circle of latitude of


Zero hours local sidereal time, or the instant the vernal equinox is over the upper branch of the local meridian. Local sidereal noon at the Greenwich meridian is called Greenwich sidereal noon.


The angular distance along the ecliptic of the moon’s nodes from the vernal equinox; the nodes have a retro- grade motion, and complete a cycle of 360° in approximately 19 years.


The great circle of the celestial sphere through the celestial poles and the equinoxes; the hour circle of the vernal equinox


Local sidereal noon at the Greenwich meridian; zero hours Greenwich sidereal time, or the instant the vernal equinox is over the upper branch of the Greenwich meridian.


Angular distance east of the vernal equinox; the arc of the celestial equator, or the angle at the celestial pole, between the hour circle of the vernal equinox and the hour circle of a point on the celestial sphere, measured eastward from the hour circle of the vernal equinox through 24 hours. Angular distance west of the vernal equinox, through 360°, is SIDEREAL HOUR ANGLE.


Time defined by the daily rotation of the earth with respect to the vernal equinox of the first point of Aries. Sidereal time is numerically measured by the hour angle of the equinox, which represents the position of the equinox in the daily rotation. The period of one rotation of the equinox in hour angle, between two successive upper meridian transits, is a sidereal day. It is divided into 24 sidereal hours, reckoned at upper transit which is known as sidereal noon. The true equinox is at the intersection of the true celestial equator of date with the ecliptic of date; the time measured by its daily rotation is apparent sidereal time. The position of the equinox is affected by the nutation of the axis of rotation of the earth, and the nutation consequently introduces irregular periodic inequities into the apparent sidereal time and the length of the sidereal day. The time measured by the motion of the mean equinox of date, affected only by the secular inequalities due to the precession of the axis, is mean sidereal time. The maximum difference between apparent mean sidereal times is only a little over a second and its greatest daily change is a little more than a hundredth of a second. Because of its variable rate, apparent sidereal time is used by astronomers only as a measure of epoch; it is not used for time inter- val. Mean sidereal time is deduced from apparent sidereal time by applying the equation of equinoxes.


Of or pertaining to the stars, though SIDEREAL generally refers to the stars and TROPICAL to the vernal equinox, sidereal time and the sidereal day are based upon position of the vernal equinox relative the meridian. The SIDEREAL YEAR is based on the stars.

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