The Zodiac is the name of the virtual belt in which the
appear to move about the sky. In reality, the
planets and their respective moons
(most of them anyway) orbit the
Sun about the same plane. Because the orbits of
planets are not on a perfect plane, the Zodiac band is 16°
wide - 8° on either side of the
When mentioning the
Zodiac, the subject of Astrology also comes to mind. Astronomy and Astrology are
not the same thing. Astronomy is a science while Astrology is not. The
pseudo-science of Astrology plot the positions of the
Sun and planets about 12
constellations that constitute the Zodiac. The result of these positions is the
effect the given planet,
Moon on your birth sign. There are two problems regarding this
plot: there are 13 constellations in the Zodiac and the position of the
Sun within the Zodiac was plotted 2000 years ago. Because the
Earth in inclined by
23.45 degrees, it rotates like a top. This is called precession.
||Precession is the act of a planet spinning
like a top. Click on the image to view a demonstration of precession.
Because our planet Earth is tilted by 23.45 degrees, it also precesses.
The result will be a shift in the position of the constellations
relative to us on Earth (video care of
The result is
shifting of the constellations. This means that the Astrological plots and
predictions based on your birth sign are really off by one month. For example, I
was born in early March so my Astrological birth sign is Pisces. In reality
however my birth sign is Aquarius since the
Sun was in this constellation when I
Of course, I do not believe in the predictions of Astrology simply
because the other eight planets have no affect on life here on
Earth. If this
were so, then the orbital speed of the
Earth will gradually decrease since the
planets orbit the
Sun slower than the
Earth. This is simply not the
case. However, it should be noted that the
Moon do in fact influence
Earth in a number of ways to include
tidal changes. As far as
personality, wealth, health and relationships, there is no scientific evidence
to prove these effects.
For a comparison
to the current dates of the Zodiac versus the Astrology plots, click
here to view the table at the bottom of this page.
The following table introduces the 13 constellations that make up the Zodiac -
the large bright object in each of the images is our
Cancer, Capricorn, Gemini,
Ophiuchus, Pisces, Sagittarius,
In Greek mythology, Aquarius (also known as Ganymede in Roman myth)
was a beautiful young boy whom Zeus brought to Olympus to be the cup
bearer of the Gods. It is suggested that Zeus fell in love with
||Ram or Golden Fleece.
In Greek mythology, the ram
carried Athamas's son Phrixux and daughter Helle to Colchis to escape
Ino. When the ram reached Colchis, Phrixux sacrificed the ram and hung
its fleece in the Grove or Ares. This fleece turned to gold and later
was the quest of Jason and the Argonauts.
The constellation name was common in Greek, Babylonian and Egyptian
Juno sent a crab to defeat Hercules while
fighting Hydra. The crab was crushed by Hercules.
Also known as Amalthea who provided for baby Zeus after Rhea saved
him from Cronos.
The word "cornucopia" comes from the broken horn of Capricorn - or
the "horn of plenty."
The two bright
stars - Castor and Pollux - are also the brothers' names. They were the brothers of Helen
They are also the protectors of ships and sailors.
Prehistoric constellation associated with royalty.
In Egyptian mythology, it represents the life giving floods since the
Sun was in this constellation during the heavy rains.
In Greek mythology, Leo represents the Nemean Lion which was killed
The only "non-living" object in the Zodiac.
Romans chopped claws from Scorpio during Autumn Equinox to
In Greek mythology, Libra is the scaled held by Astraea that
While not an Astrological sign,
Sun spends longer
time here than in Scorpio.
In Greek mythology, Ophiuchus is a legendary physician who tried to
become immortal to avoid death. Zeus killed him with a bolt of
lightening, but honored him because of good works.
Venus and her son Cupid escaped Typhon as two fish tied together.
In Greek mythology, they are Aphrodite and Eros.
A Chiron, half-man half-horse, sent to
kill the scorpion (Scorpio).
In Babylonian mythology, this represents the demon Pabilsaq.
Sent by Gaia to kill Orion when he said he would kill
It is also said that Apollo sent the scorpion to kill Orion.
Orion and Scorpio are on opposite sides of the sky.
Jupiter turns into bull to
carry off Europa - daughter of King of Crete.
It is also said that Zeus brought the ram to try and win the heart of
Goddess of farms and harvest. Virgo could
also represent Ishtar, Isis, Demeter, Cybele, and Athena.
Also thought to represent Astraea, the daughter of Zeus representing
It is also suggested that Virgo represents Persephone, queen of the
Back to Top |
Back to Observation - The Night Sky
Astrology and Astronomy constellation comparison:
||March 21 - April 20
||April 19 - May 13
||April 21 - May 21
||May 14 - June 19
||May 22 - June 21
||June 20 - July 20
||June 22 - July 22
||July 21 - August 9
||July 23 - August 21
||August 10 - September 15
||August 22 - September 23
||September 16 - October 30
||September 24 - October 23
||October 31 - November 22
||October 24 - November 22
||November 23 - November 29
||November 30 - December 17
||November 23 - December 22
||December 18 - January 18
||December 23 - January 20
||January 19 - February 15
||January 21 - February 19
||February 16 - March 11
||February 20 to March 20
||March 12 - April 18
Notice how the
Sun spends more time in Ophiuchus than in Scorpio yet Ophiuchus
is not included in the Astrology charts.
Back to Top |
Back to Observation - The Night Sky