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enotechris eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Zodiac (from the Greek, "zoidion," a sculptured animal figure, which also supplies the root word "zoo") were initially the imagined animal figure constellations.  As stated, there are 12 of them, established by the ancient Greeks, and their names have been listed.  However, on the other side of the world, the ancient Chinese also had a zodiac, composed of 12 different animals!  Wherever they were, ancient astronomers would note the movement of the visible planets confined within this narrow band of sky.

The Western Zodiac begins with Aries, where the Vernal Equinox Sunrise would occur.  However, due to the phenomenon of precession, which is the slow wobbling of the Earth over a 26,000 year cycle, that event now happens in the constellation Pisces.  Originally, the sky was divided int 12 equal sections; those sections are now longer equal and the ecliptic actually passes through a 13th constellation, Ophiuchus.  See more at links:

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The zodiac is a term that refers to a bunch of constellations (twelve of them) that are used by astrologers.  People who believe in astrology believe that the position of the sun among these constellations at the time when a person is born affects that person's personality and such.

The constellations of the zodiac are lined up along a line that is the apparent path of the sun across the sky over the course of a year.  That is why the signs of the zodiac each correspond to certain days of the year.

krishna-agrawala | Student

Zodiac is a group of stars that are visible in a band circling the earth. This band extends about 8 degrees on each side of the sun's apparent path around the earth over the year. Moon and all planets with the exception of Pluto remain within this band of zodiac during the course of their apparent movement over celestial sphere.

The band of zodiac is divided in 12 sections of equal width. Each of these sections is named after a constellation of stars that is contained within the section. Most of these constellations are named after animals.  The name Zodiac is thus derived from Greek word zoidiakos which means circle of animals.

The Ideas of zodiac was base on the observation that if stars were visible during the daylight the sun would appear to be moving across a series of constellations, entering a new constellations each month. These constellations were collectively called zodiac. And the name of the constellation in each section of zodiac was termed as sign of the zodiac.

The names of the 12 signs of zodiac are:

(1) Aries, (2) Taurus, (3) Gemini , (4) Cancer, (5) Leo, (6) Virgo, (7) Libra, (8) Scorpio, (9) Sagittarius, (10) Capricorn, (11) Aquarius, and (12) Pisces.

People believed that there is a connection between seasonal changes and the zodiacs or the constellations of the zodiac because these changes were accompanied with specific position of sun with respect to the zodiac constellations.

astrosonuthird | Student

Zodiac means constellations. (12) zodiacs are there.

astrosonu | Student

Zodiac is a term used for the constelletions in the sky. There are 12 zodiac signs - aries, taurus, saggitaurius, libra etc.

johnalbert037 | Student

In astronomy, the zodiac is the ring of constellations that lines the ecliptic, which is the apparent path of the Sun across the celestial sphere over the course of the year.

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