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Dictionary of Astrological and Astronomical Terms

Compiled by Julene Packer-Louis, Evan Bortnick, and Jackie Goldstein

Copyright 2000-2019 OCA, Inc. All rights reserved. No portion of the dictionary may be reproduced in any form without written permission.



One of five conical sections (ellipse, circle, line, and hyperbola being the others). A parabola is a focus of all points whose distance to a line is equal to the distance to a fixed point, called the focus. A parabola has an eccentricity of 1. Most comets have orbits that closely approximate a parabola. For example, an object that has just enough energy to escape the gravity of Earth or the Sun, travels in a parabolic orbit.

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