Zodiac

The zodiac is an area of the sky that extends approximately 8° north or south (as measured in celestial latitude) of the ecliptic, the apparent path of the Sun across the celestial sphere over the course of the year. The paths of the Moon and visible planets are also within the belt of the zodiac.[1]

In Western astrology, and formerly astronomy, the zodiac is divided into twelve signs, each occupying 30° of celestial longitude and roughly corresponding to the constellations Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius and Pisces.[2][3]

The twelve astrological signs form a celestial coordinate system, or more specifically an ecliptic coordinate system, which takes the ecliptic as the origin of latitude and the Sun's position at vernal equinox as the origin of longitude.[4]

Ecliptic path
The Earth in its orbit around the Sun causes the Sun to appear on the celestial sphere moving along the ecliptic (red), which is tilted 23.44° with respect to the celestial equator (blue-white).

Name

The English word zodiac derives from zōdiacus, the Latinized form of the Ancient Greek zōidiakòs kýklos (ζῳδιακός κύκλος), meaning "cycle or circle of little animals". Zōidion (ζῴδιον) is the diminutive of zōion (ζῷον, "animal"). The name reflects the prominence of animals (and mythological hybrids) among the twelve signs.

Usage

The zodiac was in use by the Roman era, based on concepts inherited by Hellenistic astronomy from Babylonian astronomy of the Chaldean period (mid-1st millennium BC), which, in turn, derived from an earlier system of lists of stars along the ecliptic.[5] The construction of the zodiac is described in Ptolemy's vast 2nd century AD work, the Almagest.[6]

Although the zodiac remains the basis of the ecliptic coordinate system in use in astronomy besides the equatorial one,[7] the term and the names of the twelve signs are today mostly associated with horoscopic astrology.[8] The term "zodiac" may also refer to the region of the celestial sphere encompassing the paths of the planets corresponding to the band of about eight arc degrees above and below the ecliptic. The zodiac of a given planet is the band that contains the path of that particular body; e.g., the "zodiac of the Moon" is the band of five degrees above and below the ecliptic. By extension, the "zodiac of the comets" may refer to the band encompassing most short-period comets.[9]

History

Early history

Beit Alpha
Wheel of the zodiac: This 6th century mosaic pavement in a synagogue incorporates Greek-Byzantine elements, Beit Alpha, Israel.
F4.v. zodiac circle with planets - NLW MS 735C
Zodiac circle with planets, c.1000 - NLW MS 735C

The division of the ecliptic into the zodiacal signs originates in Babylonian ("Chaldean") astronomy during the first half of the 1st millennium BC. The zodiac draws on stars in earlier Babylonian star catalogues, such as the MUL.APIN catalogue, which was compiled around 1000 BC. Some of the constellations can be traced even further back, to Bronze Age (First Babylonian dynasty) sources, including Gemini "The Twins", from MAŠ.TAB.BA.GAL.GAL "The Great Twins", and Cancer "The Crab", from AL.LUL "The Crayfish", among others.

Around the end of the 5th century BC, Babylonian astronomers divided the ecliptic into twelve equal "signs", by analogy to twelve schematic months of thirty days each. Each sign contained thirty degrees of celestial longitude, thus creating the first known celestial coordinate system. According to calculations by modern astrophysics, the zodiac was introduced between 409 and 398 BC and probably within a very few years of 401 BC[10] Unlike modern astronomers, who place the beginning of the sign of Aries at the place of the Sun at the vernal equinox; Babylonian astronomers fixed the zodiac in relation to stars, placing the beginning of Cancer at the "Rear Twin Star" (β Geminorum) and the beginning of Aquarius at the "Rear Star of the Goat-Fish" (δ Capricorni).[11] The divisions do not correspond exactly to where the constellations started and ended in the sky; this would have resulted in an irregular division. The Sun in fact passed through at least 13, not 12 Babylonian constellations. In order to align with the number of months in a year, designers of the system omitted the major constellation Ophiuchus.[12] Including smaller figures, astronomers have counted up to 21 eligible zodiac constellations. Changes in the orientation of the Earth's axis of rotation also means that the time of year the sun is in a given constellation has changed since Babylonian times.[13]

Because the division was made into equal arcs, 30° each, they constituted an ideal system of reference for making predictions about a planet's longitude. However, Babylonian techniques of observational measurements were in a rudimentary stage of evolution[14] and they measured the position of a planet in reference to a set of "normal stars" close to the ecliptic (±9° of latitude) as observational reference points to help positioning a planet within this ecliptic coordinate system.[15]

In Babylonian astronomical diaries, a planet position was generally given with respect to a zodiacal sign alone, less often in specific degrees within a sign.[16] When the degrees of longitude were given, they were expressed with reference to the 30° of the zodiacal sign, i.e., not with a reference to the continuous 360° ecliptic.[17] In astronomical ephemerides, the positions of significant astronomical phenomena were computed in sexagesimal fractions of a degree (equivalent to minutes and seconds of arc).[18] For daily ephemerides, the daily positions of a planet were not as important as the astrologically significant dates when the planet crossed from one zodiacal sign to the next.[19]

Hebrew astronomy/astrology

Knowledge of the Babylonian zodiac is also reflected in the Hebrew Bible; E. W. Bullinger interpreted the creatures appearing in the book of Ezekiel as the middle signs of the four quarters of the Zodiac,[20][21] with the Lion as Leo, the Bull is Taurus, the Man representing Aquarius and the Eagle representing Scorpio.[22] Some authors have linked the twelve tribes of Israel with the twelve signs and/or the lunar Hebrew calendar having 12 lunar months in a lunar year. Martin and others have argued that the arrangement of the tribes around the Tabernacle (reported in the Book of Numbers) corresponded to the order of the Zodiac, with Judah, Reuben, Ephraim, and Dan representing the middle signs of Leo, Aquarius, Taurus, and Scorpio, respectively. Such connections were taken up by Thomas Mann, who in his novel Joseph and His Brothers attributes characteristics of a sign of the zodiac to each tribe in his rendition of the Blessing of Jacob.

Hellenistic and Roman era

Dendera
The 1st century BC Dendera zodiac (19th-century engraving)

The Babylonian star catalogs entered Greek astronomy in the 4th century BC, via Eudoxus of Cnidus.[23][24] Babylonia or Chaldea in the Hellenistic world came to be so identified with astrology that "Chaldean wisdom" became among Greeks and Romans the synonym of divination through the planets and stars. Hellenistic astrology derived in part from Babylonian and Egyptian astrology.[25] Horoscopic astrology first appeared in Ptolemaic Egypt (305 BC–30 BC). The Dendera zodiac, a relief dating to ca. 50 BC, is the first known depiction of the classical zodiac of twelve signs.

The earliest extant Greek text using the Babylonian division of the zodiac into 12 signs of 30 equal degrees each is the Anaphoricus of Hypsicles of Alexandria (fl. 190 BC).[26] Particularly important in the development of Western horoscopic astrology was the astrologer and astronomer Ptolemy, whose work Tetrabiblos laid the basis of the Western astrological tradition.[27] Under the Greeks, and Ptolemy in particular, the planets, Houses, and signs of the zodiac were rationalized and their function set down in a way that has changed little to the present day.[28] Ptolemy lived in the 2nd century AD, three centuries after the discovery of the precession of the equinoxes by Hipparchus around 130 BC. Hipparchus's lost work on precession never circulated very widely until it was brought to prominence by Ptolemy,[29] and there are few explanations of precession outside the work of Ptolemy until late Antiquity, by which time Ptolemy's influence was widely established.[30] Ptolemy clearly explained the theoretical basis of the western zodiac as being a tropical coordinate system, by which the zodiac is aligned to the equinoxes and solstices, rather than the visible constellations that bear the same names as the zodiac signs.[31]

Hindu zodiac

The Hindu zodiac uses the sidereal coordinate system, which makes reference to the fixed stars. The Tropical zodiac (of Mesopotamian origin) is divided by the intersections of the ecliptic and equator, which shifts in relation to the backdrop of fixed stars at a rate of 1° every 72 years, creating the phenomenon known as precession of the equinoxes. The Hindu zodiac, being sidereal, does not maintain this seasonal alignment, but there are still similarities between the two systems. The Hindu zodiac signs and corresponding Greek signs sound very different, being in Sanskrit and Greek respectively, but their symbols are nearly identical.[32] For example, dhanu means "bow" and corresponds to Sagittarius, the "archer", and kumbha means "water-pitcher" and corresponds to Aquarius, the "water-carrier".[33]

Middle Ages

Angers Cathedral South Rose Window of Christ with Zodiac
Angers Cathedral South Rose Window of Christ (centre) with elders (bottom half) and Zodiac (top half). Mediaeval stained glass by Andre Robin after the fire of 1451

The High Middle Ages saw a revival of interest in Greco-Roman magic, first in Kabbalism and later continued in Renaissance magic. This included magical uses of the zodiac, as found, e.g., in the Sefer Raziel HaMalakh.

The zodiac is found in medieval stained glass as at Angers Cathedral, where the master glassmaker, André Robin, made the ornate rosettes for the North and South transepts after the fire there in 1451.[34]

Mughal king Jahangir issued an attractive series of coins in gold and silver depicting the twelve signs of the Zodiac.[35]

Early modern

Zodiac woodcut
The zodiac signs in a 16th-century woodcut
P.9 a volvella of the moon. A volvella is a moveable device for working out the position of the sun and moon in the zodiac
A volvella of the moon. A volvella is a moveable device for working out the position of the sun and moon in the zodiac, 15th century
Zodiac mtskheta
17th-century fresco of Christ in the Zodiac circle, Cathedral of Living Pillar, Georgia

An example of the use of signs as astronomical coordinates may be found in the Nautical Almanac and Astronomical Ephemeris for the year 1767. The "Longitude of the Sun" columns show the sign (represented as a digit from 0 to and including 11), degrees from 0 to 29, minutes, and seconds.[36]

The zodiac symbols are Early Modern simplifications of conventional pictorial representations of the signs, attested since Hellenistic times.

Twelve signs

What follows is a list of the signs of the modern zodiac (with the ecliptic longitudes of their first points), where 0° Aries is understood as the vernal equinox, with their Latin, Greek, Sanskrit, and Babylonian names (but note that the Sanskrit and the Babylonian name equivalents (after c.500 BC) denote the constellations only, not the tropical zodiac signs). Also, the "English translation" is not usually used by English speakers. The Latin names are standard English usage.

No. Symbol Long. Latin name English translation Greek name (with Romanization of Greek) Sanskrit name Sumero-Babylonian name[37]
1 Aries The Ram Κριός (Krios) Meṣa (मेष) MUL LU.ḪUŊ.GA "The Agrarian Worker", Dumuzi
2 30° Taurus The Bull Ταῦρος (Tauros) Vṛṣabha (वृषभ) MULGU4.AN.NA "The Steer of Heaven"
3 60° Gemini The Twins Δίδυμοι (Didymoi) Mithuna (मिथुन) MULMAŠ.TAB.BA.GAL.GAL "The Great Twins" (Castor and Pollux)
4 90° Cancer The Crab Καρκίνος (Karkinos) Karkaṭa (कर्क) MULAL.LUL "The Crayfish"
5 120° Leo The Lion Λέων (Leōn) Siṃha (सिंह) MULUR.GU.LA "The Lion"
6 150° Virgo The Maiden Παρθένος (Parthenos) Kanyā (कन्या) MULAB.SIN "The Furrow"; "The Furrow, the goddess Shala's ear of grain"
7 180° Libra The Scales Ζυγός (Zygos) Tulā (तूळ) MULZIB.BA.AN.NA "The Scales"
8 210° Scorpio The Scorpion Σκoρπίος (Skorpios)[38] Vṛścika (वृश्चिक) MULGIR.TAB "The Scorpion"
9 240° Sagittarius The (Centaur) Archer Τοξότης (Toxotēs) Dhanuṣa (धनु) MULPA.BIL.SAG, Nedu "soldier"
10 270° Capricorn "Goat Mountain" or "Goat-horned" (The Sea-Goat) Αἰγόκερως (Aigokerōs) Makara (मकर) MULSUḪUR.MAŠ "The Goat-Fish" of Enki
11 300° Aquarius The Water-Bearer Ὑδροχόος (Hydrokhoos) Kumbha (कुंभ) MULGU.LA "The Great One", later "pitcher"
12 330° Pisces The Fish[39] Ἰχθύες (Ikhthyes) Mīna (मीन) MULSIM.MAḪ "The Tail of the Swallow", later DU.NU.NU "fish-cord"
Ophiuchus
18th century star map illustrating how the feet of Ophiuchus cross the ecliptic

Constellations

Constellations ecliptic equirectangular plot
Equirectangular plot of declination vs right ascension of the modern constellations with a dotted line denoting the ecliptic. Constellations are colour-coded by family and year established. (detailed view)

The zodiacal signs are distinct from the constellations associated with them, not only because of their drifting apart due to the precession of equinoxes but also because the physical constellations take up varying widths of the ecliptic, so the Sun is not in each constellation for the same amount of time.[40]:25 Thus, Virgo takes up five times as much ecliptic longitude as Scorpius. The zodiacal signs are an abstraction from the physical constellations, and each represent exactly one twelfth of the full circle, or the longitude traversed by the Sun in about 30.4 days.[41]

The path of the Sun passes through thirteen constellations recognized by ancient Babylonian, Greek, and Roman astronomers (including in Ptolemy's Almagest)[42][43] and the modern International Astronomical Union. Because the Babylonians had a 12-month lunar calendar, they chose twelve and divided the year up evenly. The thirteenth was left out: Ophiuchus, the bottom part of which interjects between Scorpio and Sagittarius.

Occasionally this difference between the astronomical constellations and the astrological signs is mistakenly reported in the popular press as a "change" to the list of traditional signs by some astronomical body like the IAU, NASA, or the Royal Astronomical Society. This happened in a 1995 report of the BBC Nine O'Clock News and various reports in 2011 and 2016.[44][45][46][47] Professional astronomers generally consider astrology a pseudoscience which has been disproven by scientific experimentation. For example, in drawing a distinction between astrology and scientific astronomy, NASA notes that "No one has shown that astrology can be used to predict the future or describe what people are like based on their birth dates."[48]

Some "parazodiacal" constellations are also touched by the paths of the planets, leading to counts of up to 25 "constellations of the zodiac".[49] The ancient Babylonian MUL.APIN catalog lists Orion, Perseus, Auriga, and Andromeda. Modern astronomers have noted that planets also pass through Crater, Sextans, Cetus, Pegasus, Corvus, Hydra, and Scutum; with Venus very rarely passing through Aquila, Canis Minor, Auriga, and Serpens.[49]

Zodiac Constellations
Astrophotos of the twelve zodiac constellations

Some other constellations are also mythologically associated with the zodiacal ones: Piscis Austrinus, The Southern Fish, is attached to Aquarius. In classical maps, it swallows the stream poured out of Aquarius' pitcher, but perhaps it formerly just swam in it. Aquila, The Eagle, was possibly associated with the zodiac by virtue of its main star, Altair. Hydra in the Early Bronze Age marked the celestial equator and was associated with Leo, which is shown standing on the serpent on the Dendera zodiac. Corvus is the Crow or Raven mysteriously perched on the tail of Hydra.

Table of dates

Grupo de San Ildefonso (Museo del Prado) 03
Sculpture showing Castor and Pollux, the legend behind the third astrological sign in the Zodiac and the constellation of Gemini
F3.v. Southern hemisphere constellations - NLW MS 735C
Southern hemisphere constellations from a western scientific manuscript c.1000

The following table compares the Gregorian dates on which the Sun enters

  • a sign in the Ptolemaic tropical zodiac
  • a sign in the Hindu sidereal system (date given below may change by one or two days each year)
  • the astronomical constellation of the same name as the sign, with constellation boundaries as defined in 1930 by the International Astronomical Union.

The theoretical beginning of Aries is the moment of vernal equinox, and all other dates shift accordingly.[50]

The precise Gregorian times and dates vary slightly from year to year as the Gregorian calendar shifts relative to the tropical year.[51] These variations remain within less than two days' difference in the recent past and the near-future, vernal equinox in UT always falling either on 20 or 21 March in the period of 1797 to 2043, falling on 19 March in 1796 the last time and in 2044 the next. Except for 2003 and 2007, the vernal equinox has started on 20 March since 1980, and is projected to until 2043.[52]

Sign[53] Constellation
Name Symbol[54] Tropical zodiac
Sidereal zodiac
Name IAU boundaries[55] Solar stay[55] Brightest star
Aries Aries 21 March –
20 April
15 April –
15 May
Aries 19 April – 13 May 25 days Hamal
Taurus Taurus 21 April –
21 May
16 May –
15 June
Taurus 14 May – 19 June 37 days Aldebaran
Gemini Gemini 22 May –
21 June
16 June –
15 July
Gemini 20 June – 20 July 31 days Pollux
Cancer Cancer 22 June –
22 July
16 July –
15 August
Cancer 21 July – 9 August 20 days Al Tarf
Leo Leo 23 July –
22 August
16 August –
15 September
Leo 10 August – 15 September 37 days Regulus
Virgo Virgo 23 August –
23 September
16 September –
15 October
Virgo 16 September – 30 October 45 days Spica
Libra Libra 24 September –
23 October
16 October –
15 November
Libra 31 October – 22 November 23 days Zubeneschamali
Scorpio Scorpio 24 October –
22 November
16 November –
15 December
Scorpius 23 November – 29 November 7 days Antares
Ophiuchus Ophiuchus N/A Ophiuchus 30 November – 17 December 18 days Rasalhague
Sagittarius Sagittarius 23 November –
21 December
16 December –
14 January
Sagittarius 18 December – 18 January 32 days Kaus Australis
Capricorn Capricornus 22 December –
20 January
15 January –
14 February
Capricornus 19 January – 15 February 28 days Deneb Algedi
Aquarius Aquarius 21 January –
19 February
15 February –
14 March
Aquarius 16 February – 11 March 24 days Sadalsuud
Pisces Pisces 20 February –
20 March
15 March –
14 April
Pisces 12 March – 18 April 38 days Eta Piscium
Cetus Cetus N/A Cetus 14 March <1 day Deneb Kaitos

Because the Earth's axis is at an angle, some signs take longer to rise than others, and the farther away from the equator the observer is situated, the greater the difference. Thus, signs are spoken of as "long" or "short" ascension.[56]

Precession of the equinoxes

Equinox path
Path taken by the point of vernal equinox along the ecliptic over the past 6,000 years

The zodiac system was developed in Babylonia, some 2,500 years ago, during the "Age of Aries".[57] At the time, it is assumed, the precession of the equinoxes was unknown. Contemporary use of the coordinate system is presented with the choice of interpreting the system either as sidereal, with the signs fixed to the stellar background, or as tropical, with the signs fixed to the point of vernal equinox.[58]

Western astrology takes the tropical approach, whereas Hindu astrology takes the sidereal one. This results in the originally unified zodiacal coordinate system drifting apart gradually, with a clockwise (westward) precession of 1.4 degrees per century.

For the tropical zodiac used in Western astronomy and astrology, this means that the tropical sign of Aries currently lies somewhere within the constellation Pisces ("Age of Pisces").

The sidereal coordinate system takes into account the ayanamsa, ayan meaning transit or movement, and amsa meaning small part, i.e. movement of equinoxes in small parts. It is unclear when Indians became aware of the precession of the equinoxes, but Bhaskara 2's 12th-century treatise Siddhanta Shiromani gives equations for measurement of precession of equinoxes, and says his equations are based on some lost equations of Suryasiddhanta plus the equation of Munjaala.

The discovery of precession is attributed to Hipparchus around 130 BC. Ptolemy quotes from Hipparchus’ now lost work entitled "On the Displacement of the Solstitial and Equinoctial Points" in the seventh book of his 2nd century astronomical text, Almagest, where he describes the phenomenon of precession and estimates its value.[29] Ptolemy clarified that the convention of Greek mathematical astronomy was to commence the zodiac from the point of the vernal equinox and to always refer to this point as "the first degree" of Aries.[59] This is known as the "tropical zodiac" (from the Greek word trópos, turn)[60] because its starting point revolves through the circle of background constellations over time.

The principle of the vernal point acting as the first degree of the zodiac for Greek astronomers is also described in the 1st century BC astronomical text of Geminus of Rhodes. Geminus explains that Greek astronomers of his era associate the first degrees of the zodiac signs with the two solstices and the two equinoxes, in contrast to the older Chaldean (Babylonian) system, which placed these points within the zodiac signs.[59] This illustrates that Ptolemy merely clarified the convention of Greek astronomers and did not originate the principle of the tropical zodiac, as is sometimes assumed.

Ptolemy also demonstrates that the principle of the tropical zodiac was well known to his predecessors within his astrological text, the Tetrabiblos, where he explains why it would be an error to associate the regularly spaced signs of the seasonally aligned zodiac with the irregular boundaries of the visible constellations:

The beginnings of the signs, and likewise those of the terms, are to be taken from the equinoctial and tropical points. This rule is not only clearly stated by writers on the subject, but is also especially evident by the demonstration constantly afforded, that their natures, influences and familiarities have no other origin than from the tropics and equinoxes, as has been already plainly shown. And, if other beginnings were allowed, it would either be necessary to exclude the natures of the signs from the theory of prognostication, or impossible to avoid error in then retaining and making use of them; as the regularity of their spaces and distances, upon which their influence depends, would then be invaded and broken in upon.[31]

In modern astronomy

Astronomically, the zodiac defines a belt of space extending 9° either side of the ecliptic, within which the orbits of the Moon and the principal planets remain.[61] It is a feature of a celestial coordinate system centered upon the ecliptic, (the plane of the Earth's orbit and the Sun's apparent path), by which celestial longitude is measured in degrees east of the vernal equinox (the ascending intersection of the ecliptic and equator).[62] Stars within the zodiac are subject to occultations by the moon and other solar system bodies. These events can be useful, for example, to estimate the cross-sectional dimensions of a minor planet, or check a star for a close companion.[63]

The Sun's placement upon the vernal equinox, which occurs annually around 21 March, defines the starting point for measurement, the first degree of which is historically known as the "first point of Aries". The first 30° along the ecliptic is nominally designated as the zodiac sign Aries, which no longer falls within the proximity of the constellation Aries since the effect of precession is to move the vernal point through the backdrop of visible constellations (it is currently located near the end of the constellation Pisces, having been within that constellation since the 2nd century AD).[64] The subsequent 30° of the ecliptic is nominally designated the zodiac sign Taurus, and so on through the twelve signs of the zodiac so that each occupies 1/12th (30°) of the zodiac's great circle. Zodiac signs have never been used to determine the boundaries of astronomical constellations that lie in the vicinity of the zodiac, which are, and always have been, irregular in their size and shape.[61]

The convention of measuring celestial longitude within individual signs was still being used in the mid-19th century,[65] but modern astronomy now numbers degrees of celestial longitude from 0° to 360°, rather than 0° to 30° within each sign.

The use of the zodiac as a means to determine astronomical measurement remained the main method for defining celestial positions by Western astronomers until the Renaissance, at which time preference moved to the equatorial coordinate system, which measures astronomical positions by right ascension and declination rather than the ecliptic-based definitions of celestial longitude and celestial latitude.[64]

The word "zodiac" is also used in reference to the zodiacal cloud of dust grains that move among the planets, and the zodiacal light that originates from their scattering of sunlight.

Unicode characters

In Unicode, the symbols of zodiac signs are encoded in block "Miscellaneous Symbols":[54]

  1. U+2648 ARIES (HTML &#9800;)
  2. U+2649 TAURUS (HTML &#9801;)
  3. U+264A GEMINI (HTML &#9802;)
  4. U+264B CANCER (HTML &#9803;)
  5. U+264C LEO (HTML &#9804;)
  6. U+264D VIRGO (HTML &#9805;)
  7. U+264E LIBRA (HTML &#9806;)
  8. U+264F SCORPIUS (HTML &#9807;)
  9. U+2650 SAGITTARIUS (HTML &#9808;)
  10. U+2651 CAPRICORN (HTML &#9809;)
  11. U+2652 AQUARIUS (HTML &#9810;)
  12. U+2653 PISCES (HTML &#9811;)

In Unicode 6.0 the sign for Ophiuchus has been added, too:

U+26CE OPHIUCHUS (HTML &#9934;)

See also

References

  1. ^ "zodiac". Oxford Dictionaries. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 19 September 2017.
  2. ^ Because the signs are each 30° in longitude but constellations have irregular shapes, and because of precession, they do not correspond exactly to the boundaries of the constellations after which they are named.
  3. ^ Noble, William, "Papers communicated to the Association. The Signs of the Zodiac.", Journal of the British Astronomical Association, 12: 242–244
  4. ^ Leadbetter, Charles (1742), A Compleat System of Astronomy, J. Wilcox, London, p. 94; numerous examples of this notation appear throughout the book.
  5. ^ See MUL.APIN. See also Lankford, John; Rothenberg, Marc (1997). History of Astronomy: An Encyclopedia. Taylor & Francis. p. 43. ISBN 978-0-8153-0322-0.
  6. ^ Ptolemy, Claudius (1998). The Almagest. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press. ISBN 0-691-00260-6. Translated and annotated by G. J. Toomer; with a foreword by Owen Gingerich.
  7. ^ Shapiro, Lee T. "Constellations in the zodiac." NASA. 27 April 2011.
  8. ^ B. L. van der Waerden, "History of the zodiac", Archiv für Orientforschung 16 (1953) 216–230.
  9. ^ OED, citing J. Harris, Lexicon Technicum (1704): "Zodiack of the Comets, Cassini hath observed a certain Tract [...] within whose Bounds [...] he hath found most Comets [...] to keep."
  10. ^ Britton, John P. (2010), "Studies in Babylonian lunar theory: part III. The introduction of the uniform zodiac", Archive for History of Exact Sciences, 64 (6): 617–663, doi:10.1007/S00407-010-0064-Z, JSTOR 41134332, [T]he zodiac was introduced between −408 and −397 and probably within a very few years of −400.
  11. ^ Steele, John M. (2012) [2008], A Brief Introduction to Astronomy in the Middle East (electronic ed.), London: Saqi, ISBN 9780863568961
  12. ^ Constellations and the Calendar
  13. ^ Plait, Phil (26 September 2016), "No, NASA hasn't changed the zodiac signs or added a new one", Bad Astronomy, retrieved 14 May 2018
  14. ^ Sachs (1948), p. 289.
  15. ^ Aaboe, Asger H. (2001), Episodes from the Early History of Astronomy, New York: Springer, pp. 37–38, ISBN 9780387951362
  16. ^ Rochberg, Francesca (1988), Babylonian Horoscopes, Transactions of the American Philosophical Society, 88 (1), p. 7, doi:10.2307/1006632, JSTOR 1006632
  17. ^ Rochberg, Francesca (1988), Babylonian Horoscopes, Transactions of the American Philosophical Society, 88 (1), p. 17, doi:10.2307/1006632, JSTOR 1006632
  18. ^ Aaboe, Asger H. (2001), Episodes from the Early History of Astronomy, New York: Springer, pp. 41–45, ISBN 9780387951362
  19. ^ Rochberg, Francesca (1988), Babylonian Horoscopes, Transactions of the American Philosophical Society, 88 (1), p. 8, doi:10.2307/1006632, JSTOR 1006632
  20. ^ E.W. Bullinger, The Witness of the Stars
  21. ^ D. James Kennedy, The Real Meaning of the Zodiac.
  22. ^ Richard Hinckley Allen, Star Names: Their Lore and Meaning, Vol. 1 (New York: Dover Publications, 1899, p. 213-215.) argued for Scorpio having previously been called Eagle. for Scorpio.
  23. ^ Rogers, John H. "Origins of the ancient constellations: I. The Mesopotamian traditions." Journal of the British Astronomical Assoc. 108.1 (1998): 9–28. Astronomical Data Service.
  24. ^ Rogers, John H. "Origins of the ancient constellations: II. The Mesopotamian traditions." Journal of the British Astronomical Assoc. 108.2 (1998): 79–89. Astronomical Data Service.
  25. ^ Powell, Robert, Influence of Babylonian Astronomy on the Subsequent Defining of the Zodiac (2004), PhD thesis, summarized by anonymous editor, Archived 21 May 2009 at the Wayback Machine.
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  38. ^ Alternative form: Σκορπίων Skorpiōn. Later form (with synizesis): Σκορπιός.
  39. ^ American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language 3rd ed., s.v. "Pisces."
  40. ^ James, Edward W. (1982). Patrick Grim (ed.). Philosophy of science and the occult. Albany: State University of New York Press. ISBN 0873955722.
  41. ^ 30.4368 SI days or 2629743 seconds in tropical astrology and 30.4380 SI days or 2629846 seconds in sidereal astrology on average (the time spent by the Sun in each sign varies slightly due to the eccentricity of the Earth's orbit).
  42. ^ Peters, Christian Heinrich Friedrich and Edward Ball Knobel. Ptolemy's Catalogue of Stars: a revision of the Almagest. Carnegie Institution of Washington, 1915.
  43. ^ Ptolemy (1982) [2nd cent.]. "VII.5". In R. Catesby Taliaferro (ed.). Almagest. p. 239. Ptolemy refers to the constellation as Septentarius "the serpent holder".
  44. ^ Kollerstrom, N. (October 1995). "Ophiuchus and the media". The Observatory. KNUDSEN; OBS. 115: 261–262. Bibcode:1995Obs...115..261K. Reproduced online at SAO/NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS), retrieved 13 July 2011.
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  46. ^ The notion received further international media attention in January 2011, when it was reported that astronomer Parke Kunkle, a board-member of the Minnesota Planetarium Society, had suggested that Ophiuchus was the zodiac's "13th sign". He later issued a statement to say he had not reported that the zodiac ought to include 13 signs instead of 12, but was only mentioning that there were 13 constellations; reported in Mad Astronomy: Why did your zodiac sign change? 13 January 2011.
  47. ^ Plait, Phil (26 September 2016). "No, NASA Didn't Change Your Astrological Sign".
  48. ^ NASA (20 September 2016). "Constellations and the Calendar".
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  50. ^ https://usm.maine.edu/planet/why-vernal-equinox-called-first-point-aries-when-sun-actually-pisces-date
  51. ^ The Gregorian calendar is built to satisfy the First Council of Nicaea, which placed vernal equinox is on 21 March, but it is not possible to keep it on a single day within a reasonable system of leap days.
  52. ^ See Jean Meeus, Astronomical Tables of the Sun, Moon, and Planets, 1983 published by Willmann-Bell, Inc., Richmond, Virginia Archived 9 April 2009 at the Wayback Machine. The date in other time zones may vary.
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  56. ^ Julia Parker "The Astrologer's Handbook", pp 10, Alva Press, NJ, 2010
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  59. ^ a b Evans, James; Berggren, J. Lennart (2006). Geminos's Introduction to the Phenomena. Princeton University Press. p. 115. ISBN 069112339X.
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External links

Aquarius (astrology)

Aquarius (♒) is the eleventh astrological sign in the Zodiac, originating from the constellation Aquarius. Under the tropical zodiac, the Sun is in the Aquarius sign between about January 21 and about February 20, while under the sidereal Zodiac, the sun is in Aquarius from approximately February 15 to March 14, depending on the leap year.

Aries (astrology)

Aries (♈) (Latin for "ram") is the first astrological sign in the zodiac, spanning the first 30 degrees of celestial longitude (0°≤ λ <30°), and originates from the constellation of the same name. Under the tropical zodiac, the Sun transits this sign from approximately March 20 to April 21 each year. This time duration is exactly the first month of the Solar Hijri calendar (Hamal/Farvardin/Wray). According to the tropical system of astrology, the Sun enters the sign of Aries when it reaches the March equinox, which occurs on average on March 21 (by design). Because the Earth takes approximately 365.24 days to go around the Sun, the precise time of the equinox is not the same each year, and generally will occur about six hours later from one year to the next until reset by a leap year. February 29 of a leap year causes that year's vernal equinox to fall about eighteen hours earlier compared with the previous year. From 1800 to 2050 inclusive the vernal equinox date has (or will) range(d) from March 19 at 22:34 UT1 in 2048 to March 21 at 19:15 UT1 in 1903.Under the sidereal zodiac, the sun currently transits Aries from April 15 to 14 May (approximately).

Astrological sign

In Western astrology, astrological signs are the twelve 30° sectors of the ecliptic, starting at the vernal equinox (one of the intersections of the ecliptic with the celestial equator), also known as the First Point of Aries. The order of the astrological signs is Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius and Pisces. Each sector is named for a constellation it passes through.

The concept of the zodiac originated in Babylonian astrology, and was later influenced by Hellenistic culture. According to astrology, celestial phenomena relate to human activity on the principle of "as above, so below", so that the signs are held to represent characteristic modes of expression. Modern discoveries about the true nature of celestial objects have undermined the theoretical basis for assigning meaning to astrological signs, and empirical scientific investigation has shown that predictions and recommendations based on these systems are not accurate. Astrology is generally regarded as pseudoscience.

The twelve sector division of the ecliptic constitutes astrology's primary frame of reference when considering the positions of celestial bodies, from a geocentric point of view, so that we may find, for instance, the Sun in 23° Aries (23° longitude), the Moon in 7° Scorpio (217° longitude), or Jupiter in 29° Pisces (359° longitude). Beyond the celestial bodies, other astrological points that are dependent on geographical location and time (namely, the Ascendant, the Midheaven, the Vertex and the houses' cusps) are also referenced within this ecliptic coordinate system.Various approaches to measuring and dividing the sky are currently used by differing systems of astrology, although the tradition of the Zodiac's names and symbols remain consistent. Western astrology measures from Equinox and Solstice points (points relating to equal, longest and shortest days of the tropical year), while Jyotiṣa or Vedic astrology measures along the equatorial plane (sidereal year). Precession results in Western astrology's zodiacal divisions not corresponding in the current era to the constellations that carry similar names, while Jyotiṣa measurements still correspond with the background constellations.In Western and Indian astrology, the emphasis is on space, and the movement of the Sun, Moon and planets in the sky through each of the zodiac signs. In Chinese astrology, by contrast, the emphasis is on time, with the zodiac operating on cycles of years, months, and hours of the day.

Birthstone

A birthstone is a gemstone that represents a person's month of birth. Birthstones are often worn as jewelry or as a pendant.

Cancer (astrology)

Cancer (♋️) is the fourth astrological sign in the Zodiac, originating from the constellation of Cancer.

It spans from 90° to 120° celestial longitude. Under the tropical zodiac, the Sun transits this area between approximately June 21 and July 23, and under the sidereal zodiac, the Sun transits this area between approximately July 21 and August 9.In astrology, Cancer is the cardinal sign of the Water trigon, which is made up of Cancer, Pisces, and Scorpio. It is one of the six negative signs. Though some depictions of Cancer feature a lobster, the sign is most often represented by the crab, based on the Karkinos, a giant crab that harassed Heracles during his fight with the Hydra.

Capricorn (astrology)

Capricorn (♑) is the tenth astrological sign in the zodiac out of twelve total zodiac signs, originating from the constellation of Capricornus, the horned goat. It spans the 270–300th degree of the zodiac, corresponding to celestial longitude. Under the tropical zodiac, the sun transits this area from about December 21 to January 21 the following year, and under the sidereal zodiac, the sun transits the constellation of Capricorn from approximately January 16 to February 16. In astrology, Capricorn is considered an earth sign, negative sign, and one of the four cardinal signs. Capricorn is said to be ruled by the planet Saturn. In Vedic Astrology Capricorn was associated with the Crocodile but modern astrologers consider Capricorn as Sea goat.

Its symbol is based on the Sumerians' primordial god of wisdom and waters, Enki, with the head and upper body of a goat and the lower body and tail of a fish. Later known as Ea in Akkadian and Babylonian mythology, Enki was the god of intelligence (gestú, literally "ear"), creation, crafts; magic; water, seawater and lakewater (a, aba, ab).

Chinese zodiac

The Chinese zodiac is a classification scheme that assigns an animal and its reputed attributes to each year in a repeating 12-year cycle. The 12-year cycle is an approximation to the 11.85-year orbital period of Jupiter. It and its variations remain popular in many Asian countries and regions including China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Macao, Japan, South Korea, Vietnam, Mongolia, Cambodia, Laos, Nepal, Bhutan, and Thailand.

The Chinese zodiac is also called Shēngxiào (生肖) in Mandarin. Identifying this scheme using the generic term "zodiac" reflects several superficial similarities to the Western zodiac: both have time cycles divided into 12 parts, each labels at least the majority of those parts with names of animals, and each is widely associated with a culture of ascribing a person's personality or events in his or her life to the supposed influence of the person's particular relationship to the cycle.

Nevertheless, there are major differences between the two: the animals of the Chinese zodiac are not associated with constellations spanned by the ecliptic plane. The Chinese 12-part cycle corresponds to years, rather than months. The Chinese zodiac is represented by 12 animals, whereas some of the signs in the Western zodiac are not animals, despite the implication of the etymology of the word zodiac.

Dragon (zodiac)

The Dragon (simplified Chinese: 龙; traditional Chinese: 龍) is the fifth of the 12-year cycle of animals which appear in the Chinese zodiac related to the Chinese calendar. The Year of the Dragon is associated with the Earthly Branch symbol 辰, pronounced chen.

It has been proposed by one academic researcher that the Earthly Branch character may have been associated with scorpions; it may have symbolized the star Antares. In the Buddhist calendar used in Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Sri Lanka, the Dragon is replaced by the nāga. In the Gurung zodiac, the Dragon is replaced by the eagle.

Gemini (astrology)

Gemini (pronunciation: JEM-in-eye (♊) is the third astrological sign in the zodiac, originating from the constellation of Gemini. Under the tropical zodiac, the sun transits this sign between about May 21 and June 21. Gemini is represented by the twins Castor and Pollux, known as the Dioscuri.

Leo (astrology)

Leo (♌) (Greek: Λέων, Leōn), is the fifth astrological sign of the zodiac, originating from the constellation of Leo. It comes after Cancer and before Virgo. The traditional Western zodiac associates Leo with the period between July 23 and August 22, and the sign spans the 120th to 150th degree of celestial longitude.

Leo is a fixed sign along with Taurus, Scorpio, and Aquarius. Under the tropical zodiac, the Sun transits this area on average between July 23 and August 22 each year, and under the sidereal zodiac, the Sun currently transits this area from approximately August 16 to September 15. The symbol of the lion is based on the Nemean lion, a lion with an impenetrable hide. It is a northern sign and its opposite southern sign is Aquarius.

Libra (astrology)

Libra (♎) is the seventh astrological sign in the Zodiac.

It spans 180°–210° celestial longitude. Under the tropical zodiac, the Sun transits this area on average between (northern autumnal equinox) September 23 and October 23, and under the sidereal zodiac, the sun currently transits the constellation of Libra from approximately October 31 to November 22. The symbol of the scales is based on the Scales of Justice held by Themis, the Greek personification of divine law and custom. She became the inspiration for modern depictions of Lady Justice. The ruling planet of Libra is Venus. Libra is the only zodiac constellation in the sky represented by an inanimate object. The other eleven signs are represented either as an animal or mythological characters throughout history.Libra is one of the three zodiac air signs, the others being Gemini and Aquarius. The sign of Libra is symbolized by the scales. The Moon was said to be in Libra when Rome was founded. Everything was balanced under this righteous sign. The Roman writer Manilius once said that Libra was the sign "in which the seasons are balanced". Both the hours of the day and the hours of the night match each other. Thus why the Romans put so much trust in the "balanced sign".

Going back to ancient Greek times, Libra the constellation between Virgo and Scorpio used to be ruled over by the constellation of Scorpio. They called the area the Latin word "chelae", which translated to "the claws" which can help identify the individual stars that make up the full constellation of Libra, since it was so closely identified with the Scorpion constellation in the sky.According to the tropical system of astrology, the Sun enters the sign of Libra when it reaches the northern autumnal equinox and the southern vernal equinox, which occurs around September 22.

Pisces (astrology)

Pisces (♓️) (; Ancient Greek: Ἰχθύες Ikhthyes) is the twelfth astrological sign in the Zodiac. It spans 330° to 360° of celestial longitude. Under the tropical zodiac, the sun transits this area between February 19 and March 20. In Sidereal astrology, the Sun currently transits the constellation of Pisces from approximately March 12 to April 18. In classical interpretations, the symbol of the fish is derived from the ichthyocentaurs, who aided Aphrodite when she was born from the sea.According to some tropical astrologers, the current astrological age is the Age of Pisces, while others maintain that it is the Age of Aquarius.

Rat (zodiac)

The Rat (子) is the first of the 12-year cycle of animals which appear in the Chinese zodiac related to the Chinese calendar. The Year of the Rat is associated with the Earthly Branch symbol 子.

Sagittarius (astrology)

Sagittarius (♐) (Greek: Τοξότης Toxotes, Latin: Sagittarius) is the ninth astrological sign, which is associated with the constellation Sagittarius and spans 240–270th degrees of the zodiac. Under the tropical zodiac, the sun transits this sign between approximately November 23 and December 21. Greek mythology associates Sagittarius with the centaur Chiron, who mentored Achilles, a Greek hero of the Trojan War, in archery.Sagittarius, the half human and half horse, is the centaur of mythology, the learned healer whose higher intelligence forms a bridge between Earth and Heaven. Also known as the Archer, Sagittarius is represented by the symbol of a bow and arrow.

Scorpio (astrology)

Scorpio (♏) is the eighth astrological sign in the Zodiac, originating from the constellation of Scorpius. It spans 210°–240° ecliptic longitude. Under the tropical zodiac (most commonly used in Western astrology), the Sun transits this sign on average from October 23 to November 22. Under the sidereal zodiac (most commonly used in Hindu astrology), the Sun is in Scorpio from approximately November 16 to December 15. Depending on which zodiac system one uses, an individual born under the influence of Scorpio may be called a Scorpio or a Scorpion.

Taurus (astrology)

Taurus (Latin for "bull") is the second astrological sign in the present zodiac. It spans from 30° to 60° of the zodiac. This sign belongs to the Earth element or triplicity, and has a feminine or negative polarity, as well as a Fixed modality, quality, or quadruplicity. It is a Venus-ruled sign, just like Libra. It is the sign where the Moon has its exaltation at exactly 3°. The Sun transits in this sign from approximately April 21 until May 21 in western astrology. People born between these dates, depending on which system of astrology they subscribe to, may be called Taureans.

Virgo (astrology)

Virgo (♍) (Greek: Παρθένος, Parthenos) is the sixth astrological sign in the Zodiac. It spans the 150-180th degree of the zodiac. Under the tropical zodiac, the Sun transits this area on average between August 23 and September 22, and the Sun transits the constellation of Virgo from approximately September 16 to October 30. Individuals born during these dates, depending on which system of astrology they subscribe to, may be called Virgos or Virgoans. The symbol of the maiden is based on Astraea. In Greek mythology, she was the last immortal to abandon Earth at the end of the Silver Age, when the gods fled to Olympus – hence the sign's association with Earth.

Zodiac (film)

Zodiac is a 2007 American thriller film directed by David Fincher. The screenplay by James Vanderbilt is based on the 1986 non-fiction book of the same name by Robert Graysmith. The film stars Jake Gyllenhaal, Mark Ruffalo, and Robert Downey, Jr., with Anthony Edwards, Brian Cox, Elias Koteas, Donal Logue, John Carroll Lynch, Dermot Mulroney, and Chloë Sevigny in supporting roles.

Zodiac tells the story of the manhunt for the Zodiac Killer, a serial killer who called himself the "Zodiac" and killed in and around the San Francisco Bay Area during the late 1960s and early 1970s, taunting police with letters, bloodstained clothing, and ciphers mailed to newspapers. The case remains one of the United States' most infamous unsolved crimes.

Fincher, Vanderbilt, and producer Bradley J. Fischer spent 18 months conducting their own investigation and research into the Zodiac murders. Fincher employed the digital Thomson Viper Filmstream camera to photograph most of the film with traditional high-speed film cameras used for slow-motion murder sequences.

Reviews for Zodiac were positive, lauding the film's writing, directing, acting and historical authenticity. Zodiac was nominated for several awards and Fincher won the "Best Director" prize from the Dublin Film Critics' Circle in 2007. The film grossed over $84 million worldwide on a production budget of $65 million. In 2016 it was voted 12th among 100 films considered the best of the 21st century by 117 film critics from around the world.

Zodiac Killer

The Zodiac Killer is the pseudonym of an unidentified serial killer who operated in Northern California from at least the late 1960s to the early 1970s. The killer's identity remains unknown. The Zodiac murdered victims in Benicia, Vallejo, Lake Berryessa, and San Francisco between December 1968 and October 1969. Four men and three women between the ages of 16 and 29 were targeted. The killer originated the name "Zodiac" in a series of taunting letters sent to the local Bay Area press. These letters included four cryptograms (or ciphers). Of the four cryptograms sent, only one has been definitively solved.Suspects have been named by law enforcement and amateur investigators, but no conclusive evidence has surfaced. The San Francisco Police Department marked the case "inactive" in April 2004, but re-opened it at some point prior to March 2007. The case also remains open in the city of Vallejo, as well as in Napa County and Solano County. The California Department of Justice has maintained an open case file on the Zodiac murders since 1969.

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