• Question: Why were specific constellations, such as Capricornus used for Zodiac names and traits?

    Asked by GayatriD to Naziyah, Namrah, John, Joanna, Hester, Gosia, Ed, Adriana on 16 Mar 2021.
    • Photo: Hester Baird

      Hester Baird answered on 16 Mar 2021:


      To understand about the Zodiac signs, we need to go a long way back into history. Some of the first records of the Zodiac came from the ancient Babylonians, who studied the stars over 2000 years ago. They divided the sky up into 12 sections or zones (of 30 degrees each), to create 12 ‘signs’. The constellations of stars visible in each of these sections were used to give them names (like Capricorn). They used these signs to plot the movement of planets in the sky.
      Since then, these signs of the Zodiac have been used for something called ‘astrology’. Astrology is essentially a set of beliefs that the positions of stars and planets can influence events and human behaviour. Different societies throughout history have practiced various forms of astrology, and it has become popular in recent years through mainstream media products like horoscopes.
      However, although astrology was similar to astronomy in the past, in that it was linked with the study of stars and planets, we now know that it is un-scientific. There is no evidence to suggest that the motions of stars and planets can affect events and human behaviours. Popular astrology products like horoscopes have been tested scientifically under lots of different conditions and have been shown to be untrue. Horoscopes are written in a vague way that means different people can interpret the horoscope as applying to them, even though they don’t really have any meaning.

    • Photo: Ed Chester

      Ed Chester answered on 16 Mar 2021:


      ancient peoples imagined making pictures in the sky out of the patterns of the stars, and based their pictures on their own myths and legends. there is no real meaning or connection in constellations, and nothing to do with traits. the patterns made by stars are just as we see them from here. they change over time. the stars in orion’s belt for example are further from each other than they are from us.

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