Signs of the Zodiac
Both Western and Vedic astrology employ a zodiac which divides the ecliptic into twelve Astrological signs of equal length.
Western Tropical astrology starts with the first point of Aries, which is defined as the point at which the ecliptic (the apparent path of the Sun through the heavens) crosses the celestial equator at the spring equinox. It is important to note that the tropical signs are completely independent of the astronomical constellations after which they were originally named and no longer bear any relationship to them.
Western Sidereal astrology and Indian Vedic astrology use signs which more or less coincide with the stellar constellations of the same name.
Because the calendar is defined by the movement of the Earth around the Sun, and its orbit is very nearly circular, the sign in which the Sun falls on any day of the year is fairly predictable, though it will vary a little due to the effect of the extra day in leap years. These dates are given in the article that deals with each sign individually. Sidereal astrology also has to adjust for the precession of the equinoxes which produces a slow change of the time of year when constellations are visible in the night sky over a 25,000 year cycle.Aries | Taurus |
Gemini | Cancer |
Leo | Virgo
Libra | Scorpio |
Sagittarius | Capricorn |
Aquarius | Pisces