Zodiac Signs and Constellations

The constellations are distinctive from their associated zodiacal signs as they drift apart because of equinoxes precession and varying ecliptic width of physical constellations. Hence, Sun will not be available equally to all these constellations. The ecliptic longitude of the Virgo is five times more than Scorpius. Zodiacal signs are nothing but the abstraction from physical constellations and each one of them represent about 1/12th of full circle, in other words, the longitudinal traverse of Sun in 30.4 days.


The planet path also touches some of parazodiacal constellations. Ardromeda, Auriga, Perseus and Orion are listed in MUL.APIN. Apart from this, there are many more constellations that are mythologically connected with zodiacal signs: Aquarius is associated with the Southern Fish, Piscis Austrinus. The fish swallows Aquarius pitcher’s stream in classical maps, but actually it just swam and passed it. The Eagle, Aquila is connected with zodiac sign because of its significant Altair star. During Early Bronze period, Hydra represents celestial equator which was then connected with the Leo, standing on top of serpent on Dendera zodiac. Hydra’s tail is mysteriously perched by Corvos, the Raven or Crow.


In 1930, the International Astronomical Union redefined the boundaries of constellations and the ecliptic path now cross through 13 constellations in which 12 of them are the conventional zodiac constellations and the 13 th one is Ophiuchus. The bottom of this Ophiuchus interjects Sagittarius and Scorpio. This is the traditionally old constellation that is listed with others under Ptolemy’s Almagest and never got the recognition under historical zodiac constellation. In 1995, Ophiuchus got wrong description as zodiac sign in BBC Channel’s Nine O’ Clock News in which they reported that Royal Astronomical Society has announced an extra zodiac sign. There was no such type of announcement made and hence this report just sensationalized 67 years old message of IAU’s pending decision to modify the ecliptic constellation number.