NODE (Lat. nodus, a loop), in astronomy, one of two opposite points at which a heavenly body passes through the principal co-ordinate plane to which its motion is referred. In the case of the heavenly bodies this plane is commonly that of the ecliptic, but, in special cases, the plane through the origin parallel to the earth's equator or the plane of a planet's orbit is used. The ascending node is that at which the body moves from the south or negative towards the north or positive side of the plane. The moon's nodes are the points in which its path intercepts the plane of the ecliptic. In the geometry of curves, a node is the name given to the loop formed by a continuous curve crossing itself, the point of crossing is termed a "double point," and at it there are two non-coincident tangents to the curve; the remaining species of double points, termed "acnode," "spinode" or "cusp," admits of two coincident tangents (see Curve).
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