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Zodiac - Frame of Reference in Astrology

Astrology is a mystic science, well it will continue to be until science become advanced enough to decode the mystic formulas. Astrology is not completely mystic by today’s science; we can call it 50% science and 50% mystic. We are going to analyze about the 50% scientific part first and look at the mystic part later. The objective it to enlighten people who still believe astrology is 0% science. In this post we are going to see what a ZODIAC is.

A horoscope of a person is the position of planets at the time of the birth of the individual as observed from earth. The positions of planets are mapped in circular reference called Zodiac. As most of us know, Zodiac consists of 12 signs which are also called as constellations. Why did our ancestors choose this set of 12 signs or constellation to map the position of planets? What is special about the Zodiac? Well let us get deeper and logical.

To mark the position of an object, the foremost thing is a reference frame, i.e. the position of planet has to be marked against something, that something is the zodiac. Let us take three persons (A, B, C) standing in a line side by side. For person-A, person-B is standing to the left, but for person-C, person-B is standing to the right, from which we can understand that position is relative. Let us see one more example, For the person in London, at 1200 GMT, the sun is above his head, if he calls his friend in India at that time and ask for the position of sun, the friend in India would tell him, Sun is at the west, another friends in Singapore would tell him that he is having his dinner. Though the position of Sun is same at that point in time, the difference in observation is due to difference in location. If all three want to communicate on the same term, they need a common reference using which they can tell the same position where ever they are. Hope the need for a common reference frame is clear.

There is one more major hurdle when we thing about plotting position of planets on a piece of paper, planets are moving in a three dimensional space, how is it possible to map it in a two dimensional piece of paper? Asking this question is the key to further understanding. It is possible, as we do in a horoscope, because of one astronomical fact. The fact is that all the planets from mercury to Saturn including earth revolve around our Sun in the same plane. i.e. the path of earth around Sun and path of Jupiter around Sun lie in the same plane, so does is that of Mercury, Venus, Mars and Saturn.

Let me stress the point which was mentioned earlier, we are plotting the position of planets as observed from earth. We are talking about influence of planets on human life. Since we are on earth it is logical that the point of observation is earth. There is a wrong misconception that Astrology supports geocentric theory, logical answers to prove that our ancestors knew that all planets were revolving around the Sun will form the basis for the next article.

Let us come back to the reference frame. The properties of the reference frame should be that is should encompass our entire solar system and it should be big enough so that the position on planets observed with this reference should not change where ever we are located on earth. Zodiac is the one with all these qualities. You can imagine our solar system as circles(path of planets around Sun) with Sun as the center, Zodiac is the big circle around our solar system. Zodiac consist of 12 constellations (group of stars) each spanning 30 degrees (360 divided by 12). Each constellation has a unique set of stars forming a unique shape which help us to easily identify the constellation or sign.

The following amazing facts make the Zodiac the perfect frame of reference.

1) As mentioned earlier, the path of revolution of all planets around the sun lie in the same plane. Amazingly Zodiac also lies in the same plane.

2) We (our solar system) are located in the center of the Zodiac.

3)The diameter of the solar system is negligible when compared to the diameter of the Zodiac. As the size of earth and other planets are a dot compared to the size of the Zodiac, the observation on the position of planets is same when viewed from any point on the earth.

Let me try to explain using an example. The chart shown aside is the horoscope for Singapore latitude on April 5th 2014, 4am, i.e. the position of the planets as seen from Singapore at that time and date. Some of you might ask, can we use this map to locate the planets in sky, of course you can star gaze using this chart. To help you read the chart, you need to know some fundamental things. “As” in the chart means Ascendent-the eastern point at that point in time, in this case “As” falls on sign number 11. 180 degrees from there is the west which is sign 5. Starting from East moving anticlockwise is the part of the zodiac above us; i.e. sign-8 will be right above our head.

Tomorrow(05-Apr-2014) morning if you wake up early look at the eastern horizon right before sun rise, you can observe a brilliant white beautiful star like object, which is planet Venus. In the chart you see Venus is in the eastern horizon in Sign-11. Look above your head (little bit towards western horizon), you can observe Saturn in dull white. Both are clearly visible to the naked eye. Little west to Saturn you need to concentrate little harder to observe our Mars in faint red color.

Each of the signs (boxes) are numbered from 1 to 12. Each sign is a constellation. Sign-11 is Aquarius. We say Venus is in Aquarius at that time because we see Venus in the background of Aquarius. Similarly we say Jupiter is in Gemini (Sgin-3) because we see Jupiter in the background of Gemini. Hence all the positions we say are with respect to observation from earth, because we are talking about the influence of planets on human life on earth. From where ever we are on earth, we can observer Venus in the constellation of Aquarius and similarly all planets will be seen at the same sign where ever we are on earth, only Ascendant (AS) will change depending on our location. Amazing right, do you think our ancestors chose Zodiac as the reference frame with-out knowing all these fact.

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