The zodiac is split into twelve signs in Western astrology, and historically astronomy, each encompassing 30 degrees of celestial longitude and generally correlates to the constellations: Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius, and Pisces. The zodiac is used by astronomers to divide up the sky observationally, and also has religious implications for many cultures that associate certain traits with the different stars and constellations.
It is believed by some modern scholars that the ancient Babylonians created a system of classification based on the appearance of the night sky, which they called "the great year". This annual list of objects included the names of the planets that were visible from day to night during each month of the year. It may be that this was the basis for the introduction of the term "zodiac" later, although there are other possible sources for its origin as well.
In addition to being an observational tool for astronomers, the constellation boundaries have historical significance as well. The ancient Egyptians divided the sky into sections called nomes, which were similar to modern-day states or provinces. Each nome was ruled by a governor who had power over military affairs, justice, and agriculture. In return for this authority they received a portion of the harvest and some extra food items during the season when crops were grown specifically for the temple.
Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius, and Pisces are the 12 zodiac signs in order. The ancient Greeks used the stars for finding directions and for telling time, so they were important to society. They also used the stars to tell stories about the past, present, and future. These stories were called "mythology" or "fables". A myth is a story that explains who someone is or what something is like by using real people as characters.
The astrological signs were developed based on how much sunlight each star shines at its highest point during its orbit around the sun. Each sign represents these stars at their highest and lowest points in their orbits once every year. For example, Aries is the first sign of the zodiac and it represents stars that come closest to the earth before they move away from us, such as the star Arcturus. Taurus is the second sign and it represents stars that come next, such as Procyon. This process continues all the way through to Pisces, which represents stars that are farthest from the earth out of all the signs.
In addition to being used to tell stories about the past, present, and future, the zodiac signs were also used by ancient astronomers to code information about the stars.
The Western zodiac, which consists of 12 constellations, includes Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius, and Pisces. These constellations are linked to myth and mythology, as well as the illogical conceptions of modern astrology. The constellations were originally based on real stars but now resemble groups of objects in the night sky.
The Eastern zodiac, which has 13 constellations, includes Dragon, Snake, Horse, Sheep, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, Pig, Tiger, Rabbit, Furniture, and Bird. Although these constellations are also associated with myths and stories, they more closely resemble groups of stars.
Both systems have some similarities. For example, they both contain 12 animals and they both range in size from 1 constellation (Pisces) to 5 (Dragon). However, the number of constellations in each system is different. The Eastern zodiac has 13 constellations while the Western zodiac only has 12.
In addition to these two systems, there are other constellations that are used by certain cultures around the world. For example, the Native American zodiac has 12 constellations including the Bear, Eagle, Firebird, Frog, Lion, Phoenix, Raven, Scimitar, Spider, Swallow, Tortoise, and Whale.