Course: Science Subtest I
Lesson: Astronomy
Topic: The Stars: Patterns and Movement      Page 12 of 18  

According to the way the ancients divided up the sky, the Sun passed through 12 constellations, called the constellations of the zodiac: Sagittarius, Capricornus, Aquarius, Pisces, Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, and Scorpius. According to the modern constellation boundaries, the Sun also passes through corners of Cetus and Ophiucus.

As seen from Earth, the position of the Sun passes through the constellations of the zodiac. On January 1, for example, the illustration shows that if we could see beyond the Sun's glare to the stars beyond, the Sun would appear against the backdrop of Sagittarius. By March 1 the Sun is "in" Aquarius. Ancient astronomers kept track of the procession of the constellations and knew what constellations were rising with the Sun.