- Inclination
**Inclination**in general is theangle between areference plane and another plane or axis of direction. Theaxial tilt is expressed as the angle made by the planet's axis and a line drawn through the planet's center perpendicular to the orbital plane.**Orbits**In particular, the inclination is one of the six

orbital parameters describing the shape and orientation of a celestialorbit . It is the angular distance of the orbital plane from theplane of reference (usually the primary'sequator or theecliptic ), normally stated in degrees.In the

solar system , the inclination ("i" in figure 1, below) of the orbit of aplanet is defined as the angle between the plane of the orbit of the planet and the ecliptic —which is the plane containingEarth 's orbital path. It could be measured with respect to another plane, such as theSun 's equator or even Jupiter's orbital plane, but the ecliptic is more practical for Earth-bound observers. Most planetary orbits in our solar system have relatively small inclinations, both in relation to each other and to the Sun's equator. There are notable exceptions in thedwarf planet s Pluto and Eris, which have inclinations to theecliptic of 17 degrees and 44 degrees respectively, and the largeasteroid Pallas, which is inclined at 34 degrees. Many of the currently knownextrasolar planets are in multiple systems, and sometimes have high inclinations.The inclination of orbits of natural or

artificial satellite s is measured relative to the equatorial plane of the body they orbit if they do so close enough. The equatorial plane is the plane perpendicular to the axis of rotation of the central body.

* an inclination of 0 degrees means the orbiting body orbits the planet in its equatorial plane, in the same direction as the planet rotates;

* an inclination of 90 degrees indicates a polar orbit, in which the spacecraft passes over the north and south poles of the planet; and

* an inclination of 180 degrees indicates a retrograde equatorial orbit.For objects farther away from the central body, another reference plane is often used: the

Laplace plane . As one moves away from the primary, the Laplace plane starts off in its equatorial plane and then gradually tilts away from that plane until it merges with the primary's orbital plane at great distances.For objects where the primary's axis of rotation is unknown or poorly known, a satellite's inclination will be given with respect to the ecliptic, or sometimes (for slow-moving objects) with respect to the plane of the sky (see the definition given for binary stars, below).

For the

Moon , measuring its inclination with respect to Earth's equatorial plane leads to a rapidly varying quantity and it makes more sense to measure it with respect to the ecliptic ("i.e." the plane of the orbit that Earth and Moon track together around the Sun), a fairly constant quantity.**Other meanings*** For planets and other rotating celestial bodies, the angle of the axis of rotation with respect to the normal to plane of the orbit is sometimes also called inclination, but is better referred to as the

axial tilt or.obliquity

* In particular, for the Earth, the obliquity of theecliptic is the angle between the plane of the ecliptic and theequator .

* The inclination of objects beyond the solar system, such as abinary star , is defined as the angle between the normal to the orbital plane (i.e. the orbital axis) and the direction to the observer, since no other reference is available. Equivalently, this can be defined as the angle between the orbital plane and the plane of the sky. The latter depends on the direction in which an observer looks, so one has to be careful when comparing stars in different regions of the celestial sphere. Binary stars with inclinations close to 90 degrees (edge-on) are often eclipsing.**Calculation**In

astrodynamics , the**inclination**$i,$ can be computed as follows:$i=arccos\{h\_mathrm\{z\}overleft|mathbf\{h\}\; ight,$

where:

*$h\_mathrm\{z\},$ is z-component of $mathbf\{h\},$,

*$mathbf\{h\},$ isorbital momentum vector perpendicular to the orbital plane.**ee also***

Altitude (astronomy)

*Axial tilt

*Azimuth

*Kozai effect

*Orbital inclination change

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