I am sooooo confused.

The answer to Are sun synchronous orbits possible for any place on Earth? ends with In short, yes, sun-synchronous orbits are possible for any location on Earth. and mentions that this is true only because they pass over the poles twice a year, based on comments there.

I had thought that 98° inclination (for example) meant inclination with respect to an equatorial orbit, and therefore never passing beyond 82° North or South latitude. I had thought that the precession is induced about the symmetry axis of the equatorial bulge and therefore would never pass through the axis of the Earth. Am I wrong?

What am I missing?

Possibly helpful video runs for about six days of simulation time:

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    $\begingroup$ The comment that has you confused is incorrect. Sun synchronous orbits never pass directly over either pole. The inclination remains more or less constant. My first job out of college was working with an experiment on the NIMBUS-7 satellite. It never went directly over either pole. $\endgroup$ Commented May 2, 2017 at 13:08
  • $\begingroup$ @DavidHammen thanks, I was hoping I didn't have to rethink it all. Eventually the situation there will have to be rectified and that answer reversed, amended, or befriended by a second answer. Once that happens maybe this question can be marked as duplicate to point there. Just a thought. $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Commented May 2, 2017 at 13:40


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