Astrological sign

In Western astrology, astrological signs are the twelve 30 degree sectors that make up Earth's 360 degree orbit around the Sun. The signs enumerate from the first day of spring known as the First Point of Aries which is the vernal equinox. The Western astrological signs are Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius and Pisces. The Western zodiac originated in Babylonian astrology, and was later influenced by Hellenistic culture. Each sign was named after a constellation the sun annually moved through while crossing the sky. This observation is emphasized in the simplified and popular sun sign astrology. Over the centuries, Western astrology's zodiacal divisions have shifted out of alignment with the constellations they were named after by axial precession[1] while Hindu astrology measurements correct for shifting.[2]Astrology has developed in Chinese and Tibetan cultures as well.

The twelve signs of the zodiac, miniatures from a book of hours. (The Sky: Order and Chaos by Jean-Pierre Verdet, from the 'New Horizons' series)

Astrology is a pseudoscience.[3] Scientific investigations of the theoretical[4] basis and experimental verification of claims[5] have shown it to have no scientific validity or explanatory power.

According to astrology, celestial phenomena relate to human activity on the principle of "as above, so below", so that the signs are held to represent characteristic modes of expression.[6] Modern discoveries about the nature of celestial objects have undermined the theoretical basis for assigning meaning to astrological signs, and empirical scientific investigation has shown that predictions and recommendations based on these systems are not accurate.[7]:85,[8]:424 Scientific astronomy used the same sectors of the ecliptic as Western astrology until the 19th century.

Various approaches to measuring and dividing the sky are currently used by differing systems of astrology, although the tradition of the Zodiac's names and symbols remain mostly consistent. Western astrology measures from Equinox and Solstice points (points relating to equal, longest, and shortest days of the tropical year), while Hindu astrology measures along the equatorial plane (sidereal year).


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