Sidereal astrology is the practice by some western and all Indianastrologers of basing their study of the sky on the actual position of the planets in relation to the starry background. Most astrologers in the Americas and western Europe adopt the tropical zodiac approach and base their study on a notional view of the heavens which does not match the actual present positions of the stars. The sidereal zodiac is used everywhere else.
About 2,000 years ago, the two approaches were in approximate agreement. However, the tropical zodiacal system assumes that the constellations are all the same size, which they are not. Also, the tropical zodiacal system neglects the constellation of Ophiuchus, which was recognised as a constellation of the sidereal zodiac at least 1,700 years ago. Finally, due to precession of the equinoxes, there is a difference of about one zodiacal sign between the two systems
The zodiac is also understood as a region of the celestial sphere that includes a band of eight arc degrees above and below the ecliptic, and therefore encompasses the paths of the Moon and the naked eye planets (Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn).
Because of the division of the zodiac into 12 signs of 30Â° each; due to various specifications for the boundaries of the constellations and signs; and especially due to the precession of the equinoxes for the tropical system of coordinates, the zodiacal signs should not be confused with the constellations of the zodiac.
The Definition of the Babylonian Zodiac PhD thesis, entitled "The Definition of the Babylonian Zodiac and the Influence of Babylonian Astronomy on the Subsequent Defining of the Zodiac".
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