Zodiacal Constellations

Zodiacal Constellations, the Ecliptic, and Horoscopes…

Your Horoscope: Monday things will be mediocre.  Tuesday and Wednesday show little sign of improvement.  Thursday things are looking up.  Friday will be above average.  Saturday expect some changes from the routine.  Don’t plan too much for Sunday.

What you see above is a typical example of a horoscope prediction, without the addition of saying that the Sun, Moon, or planets are in one of the zodiac signs.  Notice how generic these statements are?  How many of us feel that Monday is a slow or average day?  Most of us do something different on Saturday than we do the rest of the week, and Sundays most people relax and get ready for the start of a new week – usually we don’t make big plans for the day.

Do the stars, planets, and Moon have some influence over us?  Does your Sun Sign or sign determine your personality?  The answer is NO.  Why then, do we find columns in the local papers and magazines?  Why does just about everyone know their sign?

The answer is really quite simple.  Thousands of years ago people watched the skies closely and were intrigued by its motions and workings.  People believed that the Sun, Moon, and Planets were gods which ruled over a person’s life, and influenced their behavior and personality.  These seven wandering orbs, (five naked eye planets, Sun, and Moon) shared the same paths, moving through the same constellations.  Therefore it was believed that these patterns had significance as the gods themselves moved among them.  This is how the Zodiac or Sun Signs came into being.  The casting of horoscopes is what we call Astrology.  Astrology is a pseudo science.  Astronomy is the science of studying stars, planets, and their positions in the sky.  Unfortunately most people often confuse the two.  The path that the Sun traces out is called the ecliptic.  It is along this path that we find all of the zodiacal constellations: Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpius, Sagittarius, Capricornus, Aquarius, and Pisces.  A person’s sign is determined by which constellation the Sun is in on the day that person was born.  In other words, if you are born between March 20 and April 20th, you are an Aries, April 20th to May 20th, a Taurus, and so on.

Most people do not realize they are reading the wrong horoscope in the paper.  What do you mean the wrong horoscope?  The Sun sign that appears in the newspapers and magazines is wrong.  There are three major problems with the ones shown in these popular publications.

First of all, the Sun, Moon, and Planets pass through 13 constellations, not 12.  For some reason Ophiuchus the Serpent Bearer was omitted from the zodiac.  If you are an Ophiuchian, good luck finding a horoscope.

Secondly, the Sun takes unequal amounts of time to pass through each of the Sun signs.   For example, it is in Scorpius 6 days and in Virgo around 45 days.  For simplicity sake astrologers long ago divided the signs up equally, but this is not how the Sun appears in sky in reality.

Finally, the Earth wobbles in its orbit around the Sun.  This wobble is called precession.  Four thousand years ago when the zodiac system was created the Sun was in Aries in mid-March through early April.  Today because of precession the Sun is in Pisces at that time.  Precession has caused the changes of the equinoxes and affects the position of the North Celestial Pole as well.

Put these three reasons together with the fact that today we know the Sun, Moon, and Planets are celestial bodies – not gods, and you see how much of a hoax horoscopes truly are.  But in case you are interested in what your Sun Sign really is, here they are:

Aries the Ram                                                 April 19th – May 13th

Taurus the Bull                                                May 14th – June 19th

Gemini the Twins                                            June 20th – July 20th

Cancer the Crab                                              July 21 – August 9th

Leo the Lion                                                   August 10th – September 15th

Virgo the Maiden                                            September 16th – October 30th

Libra the Scales                                               October 31st – November 22nd

Scorpius the Scorpion                                     November 23rd – November 29th

Ophiuchus the Serpent Bearer                        November 30th – December 17th

Sagittarius the Archer                                     December 18th – January 18th

Capricornus the Sea Goat                               January 19th – February 15th

Aquarius the Water Bearer                             February 16th – March 11th

Pisces the Fishes                                             March 12th – April 18th

Good Luck finding a horoscope for Ophiuchus!  Remember horoscopes are Astrology, and not a science.  They are an ancient belief system dating back to the Zoroastrians of ancient Persia.

Think about it, how likely is it that 1/12 of the world, or roughly 625 million people (using current estimates of global population of 7.5 billion people), will have the same kind of day?  Why is it that the moment of birth, rather than the moment of conception is the critical one for calculating a horoscope?  (Most likely this is because people know when they were born, but it is difficult, and possibly embarrassing to find out the moment one was conceived.)

Horoscopes are popular culture, and today you can find them in most newspapers and magazines.  Rarely do you find a regular feature in these publications which is related to Astronomy.  It is okay to read horoscopes for fun or a laugh, but a much better alternative would be to read something about Astronomy, the science of the skies!  Astrology after all truly is “fake news” and “alternative facts”!