Quoted from Yahoo!: Chinese astrology and Western Astrology:
Article explores the historic origin, astronomy, and astrology of the zodiac, which comes from the Greek word, zoon, meaning animal.
In Indian astrology, the twelve signs are associated with constellations, while in Chinese astrology and Western Astrology there is no connection with constellations, as it is simply the line of the equator that is divided into twelve equal segments.
In Western and Asian astrology, the emphasis is on space, and the movement of the Sun, Moon and planets in the sky through each of the zodiac signs. In Chinese astrology, by contrast, the emphasis is on time, with the zodiac operating on cycles of years, months, and hours of the day. A common feature of all three traditions however, is the significance of the ascendant or rising sign, namely the zodiac sign that is rising (due to the rotation of the earth) on the eastern horizon at the moment of a person’s birth.
From the viewpoint of earth (geocentric), the Sun appears to move along a circular orbit across the celestial sphere, this circular orbit is called the ecliptic. The zodiac refers to the thin band along the ecliptic composed of the zodiac signs and constellations. The zodiac is divided into twelve different signs each of which is 30 degrees long and begins at Aries. In Tropical Astrology Aries begins at the vernal equinox. The order of the zodiac signs is Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius and Pisces. It is believed that the concept of the zodiac had evolved from Babylonian astronomy, and was later influenced by Hellenistic astronomy.
During ancient times, people monitored the passage of the sun because it was useful in predicting the change of seasons. Over time, however, people have begun to associate the zodiac sign, or Sun’s position in the zodiac, with birth dates and characteristics.
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