The Sun’s elliptical path around the Stars

The diagram above shows the celestial sphere – an imaginary sphere with the Earth at its center (the sky all around the Earth). The equator of the Earth, projected onto the sky, therefore onto this sphere, is shown in green – the celestial equator. The plane of the Earth’s orbit around the sun is the ecliptic. Note that the axis of the Earth is tilted with respect to the ecliptic.

Constellation map

Just like the surface of the Earth is divided into countries, seas and oceans, the celestial sphere is divided into the 88 official constellations defined by the international astronomical union. The above image shows the 88 constellations in the equirectangular map projection. 12 of these constellations are in the ecliptic region of the celestial sphere, and these are called the zodiacal constellations, because they are named as the signs in the zodiac, and were known to ancient civilizations, such as the Sumerians.

As the Earth orbits around the sun, the sun, as seen from Earth (see the SOHO probe animated image in the answer posted by uhoh), appears to cycle through all 12 zodiacal constellations each year. If we were in space, looking toward the sun, then we would see one of these 12 zodiacal constellations behind the sun. At the spring (vernal) equinox, the sun is between the Pisces and the Aquarius constellations. A month later, it is in Aries, and a month after that in Taurus, then Gemini, and so on.

See the grey band of zodiacal constellations in the map, showing the path of the sun (dotted line) in one year along the ecliptic, as seen from Earth.

https://www.bing.com/videos/riverview/relatedvideo?&q=Sun+path+according+to+astrology+and+astronomy&qpvt=Sun+path+according+to+astrology+and+astronomy&mid=DFA02E933C5FD6ABBF63DFA02E933C5FD6ABBF63&&FORM=VRDGAR

As shown on the map you posted, the ecliptic passes through thirteen IAU constellations, not twelve. 

– notovnyOct 3, 2023 at 15:45

  • @notovny True, Ophiucus crosses into Scorpius there. This map shows the current IAU constellation borders, which were defined so that any point in the sky is in the direction of one of the 88 constellations. Another thing is that the zodiacal constellations are not equal in size – eg Aries is much smaller than Virgo. To ancient civilizations, zodiacal constellations were a visualization for the division of the sun’s path in 12 equal parts, because to them base 12, or base 60 (a multiple of 12) were significant, including for the Sumerians. – jmarina Oct 4, 2023 at 6:21 

https://www.bing.com/videos/riverview/relatedvideo?q=Sun%20path%20according%20to%20astrology%20and%20astronomy&mid=8362D50F8D4A168B730D8362D50F8D4A168B730D&ajaxhist=0

WHAT IS MY SIDEREAL SUN SIGN?

True sidereal astrology uses the actual constellations in the sky. You will notice a difference between these dates and the more popular Western astrology dates, aka tropical astrology. This is because tropical astrology does not use the constellations in the sky. It uses the seasons.

These dates are also different from Vedic and other common forms of sidereal astrology. Common sidereal systems use an even thirty degrees for each of the signs, while true sidereal uses the true size of the constellations. For example, Leo and Cancer are the same size in most sidereal systems. However, Leo is a very large constellation in the sky, while Cancer is very small. True sidereal astrology takes the actual size of the constellations into account.

To calculate this we use the midpoint system which uses the midpoints between constellations as the boundaries. This is the same as using a planetarium to see where the Sun is throughout the year. Learn more about the differences between the midpoint system and other forms of sidereal astrology.

TRUE SIDEREAL DATES:

(If you are within three days of another sign you are a blend of both.)

Aries (Apr 21 — May 12)

Taurus: (May 13 — Jun 19)

Gemini (Jun 20 — Jul 16)

Cancer (Jul 17 — Aug 6)

Leo (Aug 7 — Sep 14)

*Virgo (Sep 15 — Nov 3)

Libra (Nov 4 — Nov 22)

Scorpio (Nov 23 — Dec 6)

Ophiuchus (Dec 7 — Dec 18)

Sagittarius (Dec 19 — Jan 19)

Capricorn (Jan 20 — Feb 13)

Aquarius (Feb 14 — Mar 9)

Pisces (Mar 10 — Apr 20)

* Virgo spans the entire month of October

*** To see all of your true sidereal signs use the sidereal birth chart calculator

TROPICAL VS SIDEREAL DATES:

TropicalMidpointIAULahiriFagan-Bradley
AriesMar 21 – Apr 19Apr 21 – May 12Apr 18 – May 13Apr 14 – May 14Apr 15 – May 15
TaurusApr 20 – May 20May 13 – Jun 19May 13 – Jun 21May 15 – Jun 15May 16 – Jun 16
GeminiMay 21 – Jun 20Jun 20 – Jul 16Jun 21 – Jul 20Jun 16 – Jul 16Jun 17 – Jul 17
CancerJun 21 – Jul 22Jul 17 – Aug 6Jul 20 – Aug 10Jul 17 – Aug 16Jul 18 – Aug 17
LeoJul 23 – Aug 22Aug 7 – Sep 14Aug 10 – Sep 16Aug 17 – Sep 16Aug 18 – Sep 17
VirgoAug 23 – Sep 22Sep 15 – Nov 3Sep 16 – Oct 30Sep 17 – Oct 17Sep 18 – Oct 18
LibraSep 23 – Oct 22Nov 4 – Nov 22Oct 30 – Nov 23Oct 18 – Nov 16Oct 19 – Nov 17
ScorpioOct 23 – Nov 21Nov 23 – Dec 6Nov 23 – Nov 29Nov 17 – Dec 15Nov 18 – Dec 16
OphiuchusDec 7 – Dec 18Nov 29 – Dec 17
SagittariusNov 22 – Dec 21Dec 19 – Jan 19Dec 17 – Jan 20Dec 16 – Jan 14Dec 17 – Jan 15
CapricornDec 22 – Jan 19Jan 20 – Feb 13Jan 20 – Feb 16Jan 15 – Feb 12Jan 16 – Feb 13
AquariusJan 20 – Feb 19Feb 14 – Mar 9Feb 16 – Mar 11Feb 13 – Mar 14Feb 14 – Mar 15
PiscesFeb 19 – Mar 20Mar 10 – Apr 20Mar 11 – Apr 18Mar 15 – Apr 13Mar 16 – Apr 14
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Writer and Journalist living in Canada since 1987. Tamil activist.

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