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mean distance

noun, Astronomy.
the arithmetic mean of the greatest and least distances of a planet from the sun, used in stating the size of an orbit; the semimajor axis.
Origin of mean distance
First recorded in 1885-90 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for mean distance
Historical Examples
  • Its angular diameter at mean distance is 31′ 5″, or, say, just over ½°.

    The Story of the Solar System George F. Chambers
  • That the mean distance of the planet cannot be less than 35 or more than 37.9.

    Astronomical Discovery Herbert Hall Turner
  • When the angle is 90°, the effect is least, and the mean distance least.

  • The mean distance apart will be about twenty to twenty-five miles.

    The Art of War Baron Henri de Jomini
  • Vulcan, the smallest and innermost of the planets, circles the sun with great rapidity at a mean distance of twenty million miles.

    Vulcan's Workshop Harl Vincent
  • The square of the time of revolution (or year) of each planet is proportional to the cube of its mean distance from the sun.

    Pioneers of Science Oliver Lodge
  • A decrease in excentricity means an increase in mean distance of the earth from the sun.

    Pioneers of Science Oliver Lodge
  • The whole length of the land is shut in by two ranges of hills, roughly parallel at a mean distance of about twelve miles.

    The World's Greatest Books, Vol XI. Edited by Arthur Mee and J.A. Hammerton
  • It has been calculated that the whites advance every year a mean distance of seventeen miles along the whole of his vast boundary.

  • Having determined the periodic time, the mean distance, or semi-axis major, is found by Kepler's third law to be 10.34.

    Comets and Meteors Daniel Kirkwood
British Dictionary definitions for mean distance

mean distance

the average of the greatest and least distances of a celestial body from its primary
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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