Cetus, Perseus, Pisces, Taurus, and Triangulum are nearby constellations. Aries is a constellation in the Zodiac family, along with Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpius, Sagittarius, Capricornus, Aquarius, and Pisces. It has an area of 5,140 square degrees and lies between 30°-40° north of Uranus.
Cetus is a large constellation located between 30°-40° north of Aries. It has been called "the whale" because it looks like a tail when seen from below. The word "cetus" comes from the Latin for "whale." Cetus was first listed by Greek astronomer Ptolemy around 150 AD. Today, Cetus is considered one of the constellations of the zodiac. It contains two stars that are visible to the naked eye: Rho Cassiopeiae and Sigma Casseiades.
Perseus is a constellation that appears as a half-hidden constellation in the west after sunset. It gets its name from the mythological figure Perseus. In this story, Zeus used his lightning bolt to blind the king of Argos, who had raped his wife Danae. Perseus recovered his sight by looking into her chest. There he saw his uncle's head which he saved by cutting off with his sword. Thus, he became a hero and was granted immortality.
The Zodiac family consists of 12 constellations. They are all visible along the ecliptic. Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpius, Sagittarius, Capricornus, Aquarius, and Pisces are the zodiac signs. The Sun also travels through Ophiuchus and Cetus, although they are not zodiac constellations.
Zodiac constellations were originally parts of a larger constellation called Chaldæa which included all of these objects except for Aries and Scorpius. However, over time these areas became separate from Chaldæa and formed new constellations of their own. Today's constellation boundaries were established by Johann Bode who divided up the zodiac in 1784. He named each division after a member of the German nobility who was very supportive of astronomy. Bode's names still serve as the official designations for most of the constellations today.
All of the zodiac constellations are visible in the night sky during certain times of the year. For example, Aries the Ram is best seen in spring when it rises around midnight and sets around dawn. Taurus the Bull is visible in fall when it rises around midnight and sets around 3:00 am. Gemini the Twins is best seen in summer when it rises around midnight and sets around 6:00 am. And so on...
These are some interesting facts about the zodiac!
The constellation boundaries do not follow strict astronomical rules; for example, there is some debate as to whether or not Ophiuchus should be considered a separate sign.
The zodiac was originally based on which stars were deemed worthy of recognition by the ancient Greeks. The brightest ones (Alpha Centauri, Proxima Centauri, etc.) were given their own sign. Later scholars added other stars that were apparent in the night sky. Some of these additions are now known to be incorrect (e.g., Arcturus).
Today, the zodiac signs are still defined by which stars are visible at each position across the ecliptic. However, modern astronomers use computer programs to analyze images of the night sky taken by large telescopes, so sometimes new stars are discovered after the official definition of a sign has been released. For example, an analysis of images taken by the Hubble Space Telescope revealed five new stars near the boundary between Scorpius and Sagittarius. These new stars were included in a recent update to the Yale Bright Star Catalog. Thus, the modern zodiac contains 13 signs.
Each zodiac sign is associated with a unique constellation.