Sun Not In Leo Today

   On this date, according to the pseudoscience of astrology, the sun is entering the constellation of Leo the Lion. In fact, as the banner graphic at the top of the page shows, the Sun is still within the boundaries of the constellation Cancer the Crab, having just entered that region two days ago.
   The difference between the two locations of the Sun, the correct astronomical vs. the incorrect astrological, is due to the effects of precession, or more specifically, the precession of the Earth’s axis. The Earth wobbles on its axis like a spinning top does as the top slows down. So, in approximately 26,000 years the Earth will have spun, or wobbled one time. This is a repetitive cycle and over the course of one precession cycle the poles of the Earth trace out a circle against the background stars over their respective pole. any star on or nearest to this precession circle is the pole star. Currently the north pole of the Earth points toward Polaris and within this century, due to precession, will point the closest it will be, and then over time the Earth’s north pole will shift away.
   Another effect of precession has been to cause the celestial grid system to shift moving the original signs of the zodiac by at least one constellation to the west. In other words the Sun is more to the east which in effect means that whatever your zodiacal sign may be according to astrology, you are really the constellation to the west, or before it according to Astronomy.
   Click here to read a little more about precession from a previous blog.
   It is written elsewhere that astrology came into practice somewhere around 3000 BC as observational astronomy evolved from oral to written and graphic formats. So the basis for at least Sun astrology is the position of the Sun relative to stars in the background some 3,000 years ago. However we now know that due to the effects of precession the Sun’s position is no longer as it was during the beginnings of astrology. The two-part slideshow below shows the sun’s position today within Cancer, 22 July 2013 AD, and then shifts to show the sun in Leo 3,000 years ago on 22 July 1013 BC. Precession has shifted the sun’s position one constellation to the west.

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   Click here to go to the Qué tal in the Current Skies web site for more observing information.

Not Pisces Today!

click on this image to see it full size

click on this graphic to see it full size

   According to the pseudoscience of astrology the Sun enters the constellation of Pisces the fishes today. However according to the real position of the Sun on this date the Sun is already within the boundaries of the constellation Aquarius the water bearer, (as shown in the banner graphic) the constellation to the west of Pisces. Based on the apparent motion of the Sun along the ecliptic path the Sun entered Aquarius two days ago on the 16th as shown in this graphic.
   Click here for a little more information about the difference between astrology and Astronomy and an effect caused by precession.
      
   Click here to go to the Qué tal in the Current Skies web site for more observing information.

As the World Turns

   Today, January 19, the Sun is in two places at one time! The banner for this page was made using an Astronomy program and on this date the program showed that the Sun is entering the Astronomical Zodiacal sign of Capricornus, while according to the pseudoscience, astrology, the Sun is just entering the boundaries of the next constellation to the east – Aquarius. How is this possible?
   As the world turns, so does the sky, or so it appears to us from Earth. Our perspective of the sky is based in part on the Earth’s regular motions. Most of us are familiar with the concepts of rotation and revolution. Not everyone, though, is familiar with the less-perceptible Earth motion of precession. The Earth wobbles about its axis much the way a gyroscope does as it slows down. However, unlike a gyroscope, the Earth spins very slowly and will not stop spinning and topple over.

The Precession Circle

The Precession Circle

   The Earth’s wobbling motion is referred to as precession, or the shifting of the Earth’s axis over time. The wobbling is caused by a combination of its 23.5° axial tilt from the plane of the solar system, and the gravitational pull of the Sun and the other planets back toward the plane of the solar system. Because of the Earth’s rotational spin, it, like a gyroscope, resists outside forces, and does not align itself with the solar system.
   One way to visualize the changes caused by precession is to think about how the position of the Celestial Pole (the point in space directly over the Earth’s North Pole) moves with respect to the background stars. As the Earth precesses, the North Pole traces out a circle in the night skies, as does the South Pole. Presently, the Earth’s North Pole points almost directly towards the star Alpha Ursa Minor, commonly known as Polaris the North Star. Polaris is less than one degree from the North Celestial Pole. However, Polaris has not always been our North Star, nor even our brightest polestar. Several thousands of years ago the Star Thuban, in the constellation Draco the Dragon, was the Pole Star.
   The changing skies Precession is a slow but steady motion. The completion of one cycle takes about 25,800 years. As the Earth precesses, our view of the sky slowly changes, so that after a long period of time, the stars and constellations shift their positions in the skies relative to the Sun.
   Ancient cultures kept track of time by noting the Sun’s position with respect to the constellations. For example, the start of each season was identified by the Sun’s position within a constellation’s boundaries. However, due to precession of the Earth’s axis, this start position has shifted westward at over the centuries and in most instances is an entire constellation west from its position 3,000 years ago.






Position of Sun for Start of Each Season

Season

Constellation

(1000 B.C.)

Constellation

(2000 A.D.)

Spring – March Aries Pisces
Summer – June Cancer Taurus
Fall – September Leo Virgo
Winter – December Capricorn Sagittarius

   
   
Click here to go to the Qué tal in the Current Skies web site for more observing information.