: a tall tapering shaft of stone, usually monolithic with a square or rectangular section ending with a pyramidal apex. Prominent in Ancient Egypt as a solar symbol, often at the entrance to tombs or as a cult object in shrines to the sun.
obliquity (of the ecliptic)
, EPS] is the angle between the Earth’s equatorial plane and the ecliptic. The current mean value of the obliquity (i.e. ignoring its nutation) is 23º
26′ 21″, decreasing by 23″ over the next 50 years. Note that this figure sets the position of the tropics.
West-facing (e.g. a direct-west dial). In more general usage, it generally means of, or from, the west.
orbit (of the Earth)
The path of the Earth around the sun. For dialling purposes, this is taken as elliptical, with a very small eccentricity, i.e., it ignores the small perturbations due to the effects of the Moon and other planets.
The (0,0) point (or (0,0,0) in three dimensions) of a co-ordinate system used to describe a dial plane. It is usual to place this point at the centre of the dial (if it exists), but it is sometimes placed at the sub-nodus point.
East-facing (e.g. a direct-east dial). In more general usage, it generally means of, or from, the east.
A physical model of the solar system, used for demonstration purposes. Named after Charles Boyle, 4th Earl of Orrery, who had an early example built by John Rowley in 1712. Sometimes powered by clockwork to provide the correct relative orbital periods of the planets. Early examples are very valuable. See also tellurian.
The art of drawing anything without perspective, as though viewed from infinity. In dialling, the sphere so drawn consists of circles, straight lines and ellipses. Hence orthographic (or orthogonal) projection, which is used in the universal astrolabe.
A style which is perpendicular to the dial plate. It was used in many ancient dials.