Zodiacal Motion

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What Does "Zodiacal Motion" Mean?

In addition to the changing appearances that are repeated every day (diurnal motions), some celestial bodies (i.e., planets, not fixed stars) change their relative positions in patterns that become apparent only when considered over longer periods of time such as a week, month, or year. Such changes are collectively known as "zodiacal motion" (the name "zodiacal" derives from "zodiac," or "circle of animals").


How the Sun (or Moon, or any given planet) appears to move through the zodiac.


Related pages



The Moon, Sun, or any given planet changes its position from day to day in a generally consistent direction. Usually, each new day it appears a little further eastward from the stars that were closest to it the day before. That is, stars that rise with it on one day will on the next day be visible a little before the planet rises (and located higher in the sky than the planet; to the west of the planet's new position). After a short delay, the planet will appear to rise, following the star it rose with on the day before. For more detail, see the related pages listed above.


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