Bottom line: You might associate the word zodiac with astrology, but it has an honored place in astronomy, too. The zodiac is composed of the 12 constellations that lie along the annual path of the sun across the sky.
Zodiac signs are named after constellations or groups of stars through which the sun passes each year. And speaking of signs and constellations, it should be made clear that they are not the same thing. For one, the term “zodiac signs” are used by astrologers, while the term “zodiac constellations” is used by astronomers.
Zodiac, in astronomy and astrology, a belt around the heavens extending 9 degrees on either side of the plane of the earth’s orbit and of the sun’s apparent annual path. The 12 astrological signs of the zodiac are each considered to occupy 30 degrees of its great circle. Learn more about the zodiac in this article.
The science of astronomy is now at odds with one of the basic organizing principles in astrology – the dates of the zodiac. Over the course of a year, the Sun appears to pass through a belt of sky containing 12 ancient constellations, or groupings, of stars.
How are zodiac signs related to the Sun?
The zodiac, the 12 signs listed in a horoscope, is closely tied to how the Earth moves through the heavens. The signs are derived from the constellations that mark out the path on which the sun appears to travel over the course of a year. You might think that dates in a horoscope correspond to when the sun passes through each constellation.
What is the zodiac sign based on?
The Zodiac’s signs are based on celestial constellations that map out their patterns. Each zodiac falls into one of four categories; Air, Water, Earth and Fire. According to astrology, the date you were born on will determine your zodiac element.
Your Zodiac sign, or star sign, reflects the position of the sun when you were born. With its strong influence on your personality, character, and emotions, your sign is a powerful tool for understanding yourself and your relationships.
What is your zodiac sign based on?
Your personal astrological sign is based on the position of the sun on the day you were born. Take a look below to learn what your zodiac sign is, and click on each to discover their powerful traits and secrets.
How many signs are there in the zodiac?
“This whole idea that there were 12 signs along the zodiac that were 30° wide, and [that] the sun moved through these signs regularly during the year, that was codified by Ptolemy,” says Odenwald.