follow site The name reflects the prominence of animals and mythological hybrids among the twelve signs. 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. Although the zodiac remains the basis of the ecliptic coordinate system in use in astronomy besides the equatorial one,  the term and the names of the twelve signs are today mostly associated with horoscopic astrology.
The zodiac of a given planet is the band that contains the path of that particular body; e. By extension, the "zodiac of the comets" may refer to the band encompassing most short-period comets. 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. LUL "The Crayfish," among others. Around the end of the 5th century BC, Babylonian astronomers divided the ecliptic into 12 equal "signs", by analogy to 12 schematic months of 30 days each.
According to calculations by modern astrophysics, the zodiac was introduced between BC and probably within a very few years of BC. The divisions don't 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.
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. However, Babylonian techniques of observational measurements were in a rudimentary stage of evolution. 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.
Knowledge of the Babylonian zodiac is also reflected in the Hebrew Bible ; E. Bullinger interpreted the creatures appearing in the book of Ezekiel as the middle signs of the 4 quarters of the Zodiac,   with the Lion as Leo , the Bull is Taurus , the Man representing Aquarius and the Eagle representing Scorpio.
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 astrology derived in part from Babylonian and Egyptian astrology.
The Dendera zodiac , a relief dating to ca. 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. Hipparchus's lost work on precession never circulated very widely until it was brought to prominence by Ptolemy,  and there are few explanations of precession outside the work of Ptolemy until late Antiquity, by which time Ptolemy's influence was widely established. The Hindu zodiac uses the sidereal coordinate system , which makes reference to the fixed stars.
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. This included magical uses of the zodiac, as found, e.
Mughal king Jahangir issued an attractive series of coins in gold and silver depicting the twelve signs of the Zodiac. An example of the use of signs as astronomical coordinates may be found in the Nautical Almanac and Astronomical Ephemeris for the year 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.
The zodiac symbols are Early Modern simplifications of conventional pictorial representations of the signs, attested since Hellenistic times. But note that the Sanskrit and the name equivalents after c.
Also, the "English translation" isn't usually used by English speakers. Latin names are standard English usage. 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.
The zodiacal signs are an abstraction from the physical constellations, and each represent exactly one 12th of the full circle, or the longitude traversed by the Sun in about The path of the Sun passes through 13 constellations recognized by ancient Babylonian, Greek, and Roman astronomers including in Ptolemy 's Almagest   and the modern International Astronomical Union. Because the Babylonians had a month lunar calendar, they chose and divided up the year evenly. The 13th 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. 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.
Some "parazodiacal" constellations are also touched by the paths of the planets, leading to counts of up to 25 "constellations of the zodiac".
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. The following table compares the Gregorian dates on which the Sun enters:. The theoretical beginning of Aries is the moment of vernal equinox , and all other dates shift accordingly. The precise Gregorian times and dates vary slightly from year to year as the Gregorian calendar shifts relative to the tropical year.
Except for and , the vernal equinox has started on 20 March since , and is projected to until 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. The zodiac system was developed in Babylonia , some 2, years ago, during the " Age of Aries ". 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 vector of the Sun at the March equinox. 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. 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.
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 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.
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. 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:.
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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. 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 ".
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. 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.
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. In Unicode, the symbols of zodiac signs are encoded in block "Miscellaneous Symbols": .
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This is the latest accepted revision , reviewed on 5 October For the East Asian zodiac based on the Jovian orbital cycle, see Chinese zodiac.
For other uses, see zodiac disambiguation. Further information: Former constellations. Further information: Babylonian star catalogues and MUL. Main article: Astrological sign. Further information: Axial precession , Epoch astronomy , Sidereal and tropical astrology , Astrological age , and Ayanamsa. And the best part about sticking to signs in regards to finding your most compatible mate, is that there isn't just one sign for you. For example, if you're a Capricorn , the most compatible signs for you include Pisces, Scorpio, Virgo, and Taurus.
Look at that! Four from which to choose! You're most compatible with Aquarius, Sagittarius, Leo, and Gemini. Whoa, Nelly! Look at all those options, Aries! The reason for this has to do with the fact that Aries has a magnetic personality. Taurus folk tend to get a bad rap for being stubborn, but the reality is that they're just full of determination and there's definitely something to be said for that.
People who are determined get things done and are more likely to succeed than those who take a backseat to their own lives. Virgo, like Taurus, is hardworking with a deep sense of determination. In other words, Taurus, not only do Virgo and Pisces make for a delightful romance, but these two also have your back. Although the two-personality aspect of Gemini can seem daunting, they're quite affectionate and sweet. Because of this, they appeal to Aquarius and Libra, signs that just love to eat up affection and attention.
Granted, Gemini also wants a level of attention, but not as desperately as Aquarius and Libra. Gemini also does pretty well with other Geminis, because they're able to handle each other in ways that other signs may not be able to. Because Cancer can be a bit jealous, due to having watched too many romantic comedies growing up, Scorpio and Pisces fit the bill. Scorpio, with their meticulous attention to detail , can weave things in such a way so as to diffuse any jealousy on the part of Cancer.
Pisces, although equally romantic as Cancer, provides a more even tone to the pairing, allowing for a smooth-sailing relationship — but not too smooth-sailing. Cancer does love their drama, after all. So Pisces would never take that completely away from them, meaning, Pisces can be dramatic when the moment calls for it. You're most compatible with Sagittarius, Libra, Gemini, and Aries. Because Leos tend to be demanding when it comes to love, these signs are willing to put up with this behavior.
Like any lion who thinks they run the show, Leo also needs to be admired, adored, and treated like royalty. While Sagittarius, Libra, and Gemini have no qualms in doing this for a Leo they love, Aries is a bit tougher to crack. What makes Aries and Leo work so well is the challenge they present each other: the lion and ram, staring each other down, inspiring a lust for life and love.
Since Virgo is an Earth sign , it's important that they stick to other Earth signs like Taurus and Capricorn. Not only do they complement each other, but they share a practical approach to all that life has to offer. Honestly, practical and practical go together like peanut butter and jelly.
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Yes, the peacefulness is a lovely contrast to brash Leo, but Libra and Leo also share something else: a love for the finer things in life. However, similar to Gemini, Libra can also be compatible with a fellow Libra, making for a "beautiful and peaceful relationship. It's the mysterious quality that these signs share that make for a powerful union of love and happiness. Two Scorpios together feed off each other's love of secrecy, solving problems, and finding truth and justice. Pisces, although very much a contrast to Scorpio, also works, because they both have a seedy side to them that only each other can truly appreciate.
Both are also fearless in their devotion to those they love, and when you're a sign that values devotion, you want to be with someone else that puts it on a pedestal too. You're most compatible with Leo, Aries, Aquarius, and Libra. Since Sagittarius can get bored easily and a lot faster than most, they are able to deliver and keep things nice and spicy — a quality that these four signs find very desirable. Although Leo will never bore of talking and thinking about themselves, they will bore of situations, which make them and Sagittarius a fit.
As two of the most laid-back, anything-goes signs of the astrological chart, Aquarius and Libra are always up for an adventure, and adventures are Sagittarius' specialty. Aries may seem a bit uptight, at first glance, for Sagittarius, but Aries needs Sagittarius — even if it's only for a short-lived, whirlwind romance. A proper whirlwind would do Aries good. You're most compatible with Pisces , Scorpio, Virgo, and Taurus. It's these signs that are up for the challenge of getting straight to the point, as Capricorns prefer. Capricorns are a prickly lot.