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A completer Astronomy Guide 3 : Constellations, Zodiac Belt Aries To Pisces

Constellations, Zodiacal Belt- Aries(Mesh),Taurus(Vrishabha),Gemini(Mithun), Cancer(Kark), Leo(Simha), Virgo(Kanya), Libra(Tula), Scorpius(Vrischik), Sagittarius(Dhanu), Capricornus(Makara), Aquarius(Kumbh), Pisces(Meena)
People staying in cities like Mumbai cannot see the beauty of starry sky, but for those who are staying in villages, it is deeply enchanting and thought provoking. it is romantic and philosophic at the same time. By seeing these stars in the night sky, thoughts come in mind about the strange, massive, endless yet exotic universe.
In the apparent random distribution of stars in the night sky our highly imaginative ancients formed some shapes and forms in the night sky. they grouped stars in a particularly region and gave them mythological names and laos names of some common animals and birds. these groups are called constellations. there are in all eighty eight(88) constellations in the entire sky. 
Among 88 constellations 12 constellations which we call Rashies occupy an important position. As seen from Earth- Sun, Moon and other planets appear to move across the Rashies or the zodiacal Belt. The sun takes one year to move across, thus staying in each constellation for about a month. On the other hand the moon stays just for 2 and  1/3rd days on an average in one constellation and goes on to the next.


There are 12 constellations which we call Rashies have got an importance are as follow-

Aries is names by the Greeks after the ram with the golden fleece. Aries in the first constellation in the zodiacal belt, because at that time the vernal equinox was once located in the constellation. Now due to the processional motionof the earth, it has now shfted to pisces. There are 3 bright stars in Aries. The brightesh one is called Hamal with magnitude 2.0 and is 76 light years away from us. The second brightest star of this constellationis called sheratean with 2.7 magnitude and is at the distance of 52 light years away from us.

The second constellation is Taurus or Vrishabha. Taurus, the bull was probably one of the first constellation to be named prior to 3000B.C. It is remarkably rich areas of the sky, containing some very prominent stars, the Pleiades (krittika) and Hyades clusters. It is also house of the Crab Nebula, a remnant of an exploded star. This explosion was first noticed by Chinese Astronmers in the year 1054 A.D. on 4th July. The brightest star in this constellation is Aldebaran(Rohini) is a great Read giant star, at the distance of 68 light years from Earth. It's diameter is about 50 million kms and luminosity 120 times that of the sun. With the naked eye you can see only 6 to 7 stars forming the Pleaiades cluster. But with the help of a pair of binoculars you can see fifty, a telescope reveals more than 300 stars in all. Each of these stars are very young, hot and blue. This cluster is about 500 light years away from us.

Gemini is the third constellation in the zodiacal belt. Gemini is famous for the stars castor and pollus, which have come to signify the entire constellation. castor is fo magnitude 1.62 and consists of three spectroscopic inaries stars, and is at the distance of 45 light years. Each of them has a coupled motion and the 6 stars pursue interlinked orbits about each other. Pollux is the brightest star in this constellation. but intrinsically dimmer than the castor system. The constellation accommodates a planetary Nebula and open star clusters, interestingly both Neptune and Pluto were discovered when they were passing through Gemini.

Cancer contains no stars brighter than the 4th magnitude and the only interesting objects in it are tw open clusters, M44 and M67. M44 is also known as Preespe Cluster, commonly known as teh Beehive. The Beehive is an open cluster of more than 400 very faint stars at a distance of 500 light years. Its faintness is sometimes used in predicting weahter, for even a slight collection of water vapor in the air will obscure it to the naked eye. 
Several thousand years ago the constellation frmed the background of the sun when the latter reached the point of summer solstice and achieved maximum elevation above the celestial equator. The Sun was directly overhead along latitude 23 and 1/2 degree North and thsi line around the earth was known as the tropic of cancer. Precession motion of the earth has now displaced this constellation from this position. Now it is in Gemini.

5) LEO (SIMHA) :
The fifth constellation of the Zodiacal belt is Leo the Lion. Curving like a backward question mark in the sky is agroup of stars forming the head and mane of Lion. There are 4 bright stars in this constellation. Among them the brightest is Regulus (Magha) situated at the par of the Lion at a distance of 84 light years away from us. Other stars is Agegiba at a distance of 200 light years and Denebola about 43 light years away from us. 
Virgo the virgin is the 6th constellation in the belt of Zodiac. This constellation is associated with female innocence and virginity. 
The most prominent star in the constellation is Spica or chitra, at the navel of the virgin. In the mont of Chaitra this star will rise immediately after sunset and on the full moon day it will be closest to the moon. Spica lies at the distance of 220 light years away from the sun. 
Virgo contains many interesting objects all external galaxies. Most notable are M58, M60, M84  etc.

The 7th zodiacal constellation is Libra or Tula is the only constellation in the circle of Animals that is not alife form. Long ago its stars were the pinces of Scorpius, but later teh romans separated them from Scorpius. Now Libra represents teh scales that the Goddess of Justice, Virgo holds in her hands. 
The brightest stars in Libra have the wonderful sounding names of Zubenelgenubi and Zubeneschamali.

The eight constellation is Scorpius or Vrishchika. Three stars mark the Scorions head, Red Antares it s heart, and a sharply curving group, many of which are doubles, its tail and stinger. The most interesting star by far is Antares, a supergiat. Antares has a diameter o about 563 million kilometers and lies at the distance of 520 light years. The Rival of Mars lies close to the ecliptic and when mars occasionally draws close to it, the two d rival each other in color and brilliance. Other objects of interest in Scorpius include 2 globular clusters M4 and M80 found firly close to Antares.
The ninth constellatin in the zodiacal belt is Sagittarius or Dhanu.
Out of the total 88 constellations, sagittarius probably contains the most abunant and wide-ranging collection of objects. Within this area lie numerous stars, the galactic nucles, gaseous Nebulae, open an galactic clusters, the list of virtually all embracing.
The stars are not bright but their spacing gives the impressionof fine strength, like a webbed network of steel. Once you find it, you will look again and again for it in the summer sky.
The center of our Galaxy lies in the direction of Sagittarius about 28,000 light years away.

The 10th constellation is Capricornus or Makara. Thsi constellation has the shape of a wide arrowhead. This constellation was associated with the low point reached by the sun as it dipped below the celestial equator at winter Solstice and therefore gave its name to the Tropic of Capricorn for latitue 23 and 1/2 degree south. All the stars in this constellation are hard to see with the naked eye. A globular cluster M30 lies just outside this constellation.

The second last constellation of the zodiac is Aquarius or Kumbha and is depicting a virgin carrying a pitcher full of water. The stars belonging to this constellation are all faint. 
The brightest stars in this constellation are Sadal Suud and Dadal Melik.
Acquarius is famous for the meteor shower Acquarids athat is associated with th orbit of the comet halley. The sun passes over this constellation in late February and early march.
Historically when jupiter meets the sun in this constellation once every 12 years, hindus congregate at the Kumbha Mela a Prayaga and take a holy did in the Triveni River.

The last constellation in the zodiacal is pisces or Meena. A faint group of stars, pisces open in big 'V' towards the great square of pegasus. 
Although it is unspectacular, it has been recognized since the days of the earliest civilizations. 

Dr. Om Prakash Bhatnagar
Astrologer, Vastu Consultant, Palmist,Spiritual Healer, Researcher and Motivator
(P.G. Astrology, Vastu Ratna, D.Ac.,DASM, Pyra Expert)
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Hotline : +91 98936 95155
Constellations, Zodiacal Belt- Aries(Mesh),Taurus(Vrishabha),Gemini(Mithun), Cancer(Kark), Leo(Simha), Virgo(Kanya), Libra(Tula), Scorpius(Vrischik), Sagittarius(Dhanu), Capricornus(Makara), Aquarius(Kumbh), Pisces(Meena) 

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