EQUATOR (Late Lat. aequator, from aequare, to make equal), in geography, that great circle of the earth, equidistant from the two poles, which divides the northern from the southern hemisphere and lies in a plane perpendicular to the axis of the earth; this is termed the "geographical" or "terrestrial equator." In astronomy, the "celestial equator" is the name given to the great circle in which the plane of the terrestrial equator intersects the celestial Sphere; it is consequently equidistant from the celestial poles. The "magnetic equator" is an imaginary line encircling the earth, along which the vertical component of the earth's magnetic force is zero; it nearly coincides with the terrestrial equator.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)