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Xena: In 2005 a KBO 1490 miles in diameter (Pluto is 1433 miles wide), 2003 UB313, was discovered. Originally called Xena and later Eris, it appeared to be the tenth planet of our solar system. It has a moon, Dysnomia, as do 10-20% of all KBOs. Its 557-year orbit ranges from 38-97 times the Earth-Sun distance (1 AU), whereas Pluto’s 248-year orbit varies from 30-49 AU. In 2006 the IAU redefined Eris, Pluto, and Ceres as dwarf planets.

yang: said of energy that is masculine, assertive, active, positive or outgoing, as opposed to yin energy; the fire and air signs Aries, Leo, Sagittarius, Gemini, Libra and Aquarius are yang signs. Of the personal planets, the Sun and Mars are yang, the Moon and Venus are yin, and Mercury is reflective of the energy that it receives.

yin: said of energy that is feminine, passive, negative or receptive, as opposed to yang; the earth and water signs Taurus, Virgo, Capricorn, Cancer, Scorpio and Pisces are yin signs. Of the personal planets, the Moon and Venus are yin, the Sun and Mars are yang, and Mercury is reflective of the energy it receives.

yod (see "finger of God"): a triangular aspect structure: one planet at the vertex in quincunx to two others in sextile. The whole structure points to the planet at the apex: a special task in life beneficial to one’s evolution; thought to be a fateful, constant, and relatively unchanging condition.

zenith: the point on the celestial sphere that—determined by gravity—is directly overhead.

zodiac: (from the Latin, "band of animals"); those particular 12 constellations through which the Sun, Moon and planets appear to move year after year as seen from the Earth. The planets move through only these 12 constellations due to their orbits all being on an infinite flat surface called the plane of the ecliptic. This is thought to be the result of the planets all having condensed from the gaseous equatorial plane of a protostar billions of years ago, the center of which is now the Sun.

zodiacal light: After the Sun and planets coalesced from the primordial solar nebula, many particles did not congeal into larger bodies. Ranging from micron-sized dust grains to boulders, these trillions of uncoalesced particles necessarily lie in the original plane of the solar nebula, which later became the ecliptic or zodiacal plane. This interplanetary debris reflects the light of the Sun along the ecliptic for some distance before and after its position. Seen from the Earth’s surface just before sunrise, zodiacal light appears as a diffuse tilted cone or slanted pyramid centered on the intersection of the ecliptic with the horizon and extending as much as 30° along the horizon. Seen from space it appears as a diffuse white band centered on the Sun extending along the ecliptic plane; it is so depicted in the paintings on pages 197 and 206.




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© Carl Woebcke, The Glossary: the Letters X - Z, 1991-2016. All rights reserved.