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Johann Leonhard Rost's 1723 Atlas Portatilis Coelestis

 

Christian Goldbach's 1799 Neuester Himmels

 

The Witness of the Stars E. W. Bullinger

 

John Flamsteed's 1776 Atlas CÚleste

 

Star Maps For Each of the Months

 

Johann Bayer's 1603 Uranometria

 

Star Conselltaions From 1690

 

   
 

 

 

Aries (Latin: "Ram"), in astronomy, zodiacal constellation lying between Pisces and Taurus, at about 3 hours right ascension (the coordinate on the celestial sphere analogous to longitude on the Earth) and 20░ north declination (angular distance from the celestial equator). Aries contains no very bright stars. The first point of Aries, or vernal equinox, is an intersection of the celestial equator with the apparent annual pathway of the Sun and the point in the sky from which celestial longitude and right ascension are measured. It no longer lies in Aries but has been moved into Pisces by the precession of the equinoxes. In astrology, Aries is the first sign of the zodiac, considered as governing the period c. March 21-c. April 19. Its representation as a ram is identified with the Egyptian god Amon and, in Greek mythology, with the ram with the golden fleece, on the back of which Phrixus, the son of King Athamas, safely fled Thessaly to Colchis, where he sacrificed the ram to Zeus, who placed it in the heavens as the constellation. The ram's golden fleece was recovered by Jason, leader of the Argonauts.

 

Taurus in astronomy, zodiacal constellation lying between Aries and Gemini, at about 4 hours 20 minutes right ascension (the coordinate on the celestial sphere analogous to longitude on the Earth) and 16░ north declination (angular distance north of the celestial equator). The constellation's brightest star, Aldebaran (Alpha Tauri), is of the first magnitude. The constellation also contains the Crab Nebula (M1) and the Pleiades and Hyades star clusters. In astrology, Taurus is the second sign of the zodiac, considered as governing that portion of the year from about April 20 to May 20. Its representation as a bull is related to the Greek myth of Zeus, who assumed the form of a bull to abduct Europa.

 

Gemini (Latin: "Twins"), in astronomy, zodiacal constellation lying between Cancer and Taurus, at about 7 hours right ascension (the coordinate of the celestial sphere analogous to longitude on the Earth) and 22░ north declination (angular distance north of the celestial equator). Its brightest stars are Castor and Pollux (Alpha and Beta Geminorum), Pollux being the brighter of the two. The summer solstice, the northernmost point reached by the Sun in its annual apparent journey among the stars,   lies in Gemini. In astrology, Gemini is the third sign of the zodiac, considered as governing the period c. May 21-c. June 21. It is represented by a set of twins (in Egyptian astrology by a pair of goats and in Arabian astrology by a pair of peacocks). In addition to their identification as Castor and Pollux, the twins have also been related to other celebrated pairs, such as the younger and older Horus, or Romulus and Remus.

 

Cancer (Latin: Crab), in astronomy, zodiacal constellation lying between Leo and Gemini at about 8 hours 25 minutes right ascension (the coordinate of the celestial sphere analogous to longitude on the Earth) and 20░ north declination (angular distance north of the celestial equator). It contains the well-known star cluster called Praesepe or the Beehive. In astrology, Cancer is the fourth sign of the zodiac, considered as governing the period c. June 22-c. July 22. Its representation as a crab (or lobster or crayfish) is related to the crab in Greek mythology that pinched Heracles while he was fighting the Lernaean hydra. Crushed by Heracles, the crab was rewarded by Heracles' enemy, Hera, by being placed in the heavens.

 

Leo (Latin: Lion), in astronomy, zodiacal constellation lying between Cancer and Virgo, at about 10 hours 30 minutes right ascension (the coordinate of the celestial sphere analogous to longitude on the Earth) and 15░ north declination (angular distance north of the celestial equator). Regulus (Alpha Leonis), the brightest star, is of the first magnitude. The November meteor shower called the Leonid has its radiant, or point of apparent origin, in Leo. (see also Index: Leonid meteor shower) In astrology, Leo is the fifth sign of the zodiac, considered as governing the period c. July 23-c. August 22. Its representation as a lion is usually linked with the Nemean lion slain by Heracles (Hercules).

 

Virgo, in astronomy, zodiacal constellation lying between Leo and Libra, at about 13 hours right ascension (the coordinate on the celestial sphere analogous to longitude on the Earth) and 2░ south declination (angular distance south of the celestial equator). The constellation's brightest star, Spica (Alpha Virginis), is of the first magnitude. In astrology, Virgo is the sixth sign of the zodiac, considered as governing the period from about August 23 to about September 22. It is represented as a young maiden carrying a sheaf of wheat. She is variously identified as a fertility goddess (the Babylonian and Assyrian Ishtar, among others) or the harvest maiden (the Greek Persephone and others).

 

Libra (Latin: "Balance"), in astronomy, zodiacal constellation lying between Scorpius and Virgo, at about 15 hours 30 minutes right ascension (the coordinate on the celestial sphere analogous to longitude on the Earth) and 15░ south declination (angular distance south of the celestial equator). Its stars are faint. In astrology, Libra is the seventh sign of the zodiac, considered as governing the period from about September 22 to October 23. It is represented by a woman (sometimes identified with Astraea, the Roman goddess of justice), holding a balance scale or by the balance alone.

 

Scorpio (Latin: "Scorpion"), in astronomy, zodiacal constellation lying between Libra and Sagittarius, at about 16 hours 30 minutes right ascension (the coordinate on the celestial sphere analogous to longitude on the Earth) and 30░ south declination (angular distance south of the celestial equator). Antares (Alpha Scorpii), the brightest star, is of the first magnitude. In astrology, Scorpius (or Scorpio) is the eighth sign of the zodiac, considered as governing the period from about October 24 to about November 21. Its representation as a scorpion is related to the Greek legend of the scorpion that stung Orion to death (said to be why Orion sets as Scorpius rises in the sky). Another Greek myth relates that a scorpion caused the horses of the Sun to bolt when they were being driven for a day by the inexperienced youth Phaeton.

 

Sagittarius (Latin: "Archer"), in astronomy, zodiacal constellation lying between Capricornus and Scorpius, at about 19 hours right ascension (the coordinate on the celestial sphere analogous to longitude on the Earth) and 25░ south declination (angular distance south of the celestial equator). The centre of the Milky Way Galaxy lies in Sagittarius, with the densest star clouds of the galaxy. Near the western border of Sagittarius is the winter solstice, the southernmost point reached by the Sun in its apparent annual journey among the stars. In astrology, Sagittarius is the ninth sign of the zodiac, considered as governing the period from about November 22 to about December 21. It is represented either by a centaur shooting a bow and arrow or by an arrow drawn across a bow. The identification of Sagittarius as a mounted archer was made by the Babylonians as early as the 11th century BC.

 

Capricorn - (Latin: Goat-horned), also called The Goat, in astronomy, zodiacal constellation lying between Aquarius and Sagittarius, at about 21 hours right ascension (the coordinate on the celestial sphere analogous to longitude on the Earth) and 20░ south declination (angular distance south of the celestial equator). Its stars are faint. In astrology, Capricornus (also Capricorn) is the 10th sign of the zodiac, considered as governing the period c. December 22-c. January 19. One explanation of the fishtail with which the goat is often represented is found in the Greek myth of Pan, who, to avoid the monster Typhon, jumped into the water just as he was changing into animal shape. The half above water assumed the shape of a goat while the lower half, the tail, assumed the shape of a fish.

 

Aquarius (Latin: Water Bearer), in astronomy, zodiacal constellation lying between Capricornus and Pisces, at about 23 hours right ascension (the coordinate on the celestial sphere analogous to longitude on the Earth) and 10░ south declination (angular distance south of the celestial equator). It lacks striking features, the brightest stars being only of the third magnitude. In astrology, Aquarius is the 11th sign of the zodiac, considered as governing the period c. January 20-c. February 18. Its representation as a man pouring a stream of water out of a jug came about, it has been suggested, because in ancient times the rising of Aquarius coincided in the Middle East with a period of floods and rain. In the conceptual scheme of the "Great Year"--the more than 25,000 years it takes the Earth to pass in turn through the influence of each of the signs of the zodiac--the Earth is said to have passed into the age of Aquarius early in the 19th century.

 

Pisces (Latin: Fishes), in astronomy, zodiacal constellation lying between Aries and Aquarius, at about 1 hour right ascension (the coordinate on the celestial sphere analogous to longitude on the Earth) and 15░ north declination (angular distance north of the celestial equator). The vernal equinox, the point where the Sun's annual apparent path takes it north of the celestial equator and from which celestial longitude and right ascension are measured, lies now in Pisces. The constellation contains only faint stars without any striking grouping. In astrology, Pisces is the 12th sign of the zodiac, considered as governing the period c. February 19-c. March 20. Its representation as two fish tied together is usually related to the Greek myth of Aphrodite and Eros, who jumped into the river to escape the monster Typhon and changed into fish, or, alternatively, the two fish that carried them to safety.