Ophiuchus Gets a Hotfoot!

   Sunday November 30rd at 7 UT (1 am CST) the Sun in its apparent eastward motion along the ecliptic, moves out of the constellation Scorpius the Scorpion and into the constellation of Ophiuchus the Healer. This is the true or actual position of the Sun as opposed to the pseudoscience of astrology which usually has the astrological Sun one constellation ahead or east from the Astronomical Sun’s position.

ophiuchus-serpens   So who is this Ophiuchus the Healer? Originally named Serpentarius this rather large constellation depicts a ‘man of medicine’ holding a snake in his hands. The snake is actually a two-part constellation known as Serpens Caput and Serpens Cauda. This mythological character, because of its position and its boundaries, is the 13th sign of the zodiac, but to be correct it is part of the Astronomical Zodiac. The right foot and the southern boundary of Ophiuchus is below the ecliptic path and so since the ecliptic path crosses the boundary of Ophiuchus it is considered part of the zodiac by how the zodiacal constellations are determined. If the ecliptic path crosses a constellation’s boundary then that constellation is a zodiac constellation.

   Read a little more about how astrology has the Sun incorrectly placed in a previous blog, and in another blog discussing the effects of precession.
   
   
   
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Caution: Objects viewed with an optical aid are further than they appear.
   Click here to go to the Qué tal in the Current Skies web site for more observing information for this month.

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