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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
1885-90 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for mean distance
Historical Examples
  • The mean distance from the Atlantic to the Mississippi does not probably exceed seven hundred and fifty miles.

    The Federalist Papers Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, and James Madison
  • Its angular diameter at mean distance is 31′ 5″, or, say, just over ½°.

    The Story of the Solar System George F. Chambers
  • Saturn revolves round the Sun in a little under 29½ years at a mean distance of 886 millions of miles.

    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
  • 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
  • When the angle is 90°, the effect is least, and the mean distance least.

  • It has been calculated that the whites advance a mean distance of seventeen miles along the whole of this vast boundary.

    American Institutions and Their Influence Alexis de Tocqueville et al.
  • The mean distance apart will be about twenty to twenty-five miles.

    The Art of War Baron Henri de Jomini
  • On the orbit of the moon, at its mean distance from the earth, each of these straight sides would be about 6,000 feet long.

  • 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
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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