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Dates of sun’s entry into each constellation of the zodiac

Sun-entry dates to zodiac constellations in 2016, using boundaries for constellations set by International Astronomical Union in 1930s.

Sun's path through the zodiac.

Sun’s path through the zodiac.

Image courtesy of Wikipedia

The sun resides at a longitude of 0o on the ecliptic at the March equinox. The sun is at 90o ecliptic longitude at the June solstice, 180 o ecliptic longitude at the September equinox and 270o ecliptic longitude on the December solstice. Image via Wikipedia

You may know that the real sun in the real sky does not appear in front of a constellation of the Zodiac within the same range of dates you’ll see listed in astrological horoscopes. That’s because astrology and astronomy use different systems. Astrologers typically indicate the sun’s position with signs whereas astronomers use constellations. We were asked for:

… a list of the constellations that fall on the ecliptic with the exact degrees.

And we’ve located this information in Guy Ottewell’s Astronomical Calendar. Below, you’ll find the dates for the sun’s entry into each zodiacal constellation, plus the sun’s ecliptic longitude – its position east of the March equinox point on the ecliptic – for each given date.

We are using the boundaries for the zodiacal constellations established by the International Astronomical Union in the 1930s.

Date of sun’s entry into each zodiacal constellation (and corresponding ecliptic longitude):

Dec 18, 2015: Sun enters constellation Sagittarius (266.55o)

Jan 20, 2016: Sun enters constellation Capricornus (299.68o)

Feb 17, 2016: Sun enters constellation Aquarius (327.85o)

Mar 11, 2016: Sun enters constellation Pisces (351.54o)

Apr 18, 2016: Sun enters constellation Aries (29.05o)

May 13, 2016: Sun enters constellation Taurus (53.43o)

Jun 21, 2016: Sun enters constellation Gemini (90.40o)

Jul 20, 2016: Sun enters constellation Cancer (118.22o)

Aug 10, 2015: Sun enters constellation Leo (138.15o)

Sep 16, 2016: Sun enters constellation Virgo (174.12o)

Oct 30, 2016: Sun enters constellation Libra (217.77o)

Nov 22, 2016: Sun enters constellation Scorpius (241.11o)

Nov 29, 2016: Sun enters constellation Ophiuchus (248.00o)

Dec 18, 2016: Sun enters constellation Sagittarius (266.57o)

Source: Astronomical Calendar 2015 and 2016

Earth-centered ecliptic coordinates as seen from outside the celestial sphere. Ecliptic longitude (red) is measured along the ecliptic from the vernal equinox. Ecliptic latitude (yellow) is measured perpendicular to the ecliptic.  Image via Wikimedia Commons

Earth-centered ecliptic coordinates as seen from outside the celestial sphere. Ecliptic longitude (red) is measured along the ecliptic from the vernal equinox at 0o longitude. Ecliptic latitude (yellow) is measured perpendicular to the ecliptic. Image via Wikimedia Commons

Constellations of the zodiac:

Taurus? Here’s your constellation
Gemini? Here’s your constellation
Cancer? Here’s your constellation
Leo? Here’s your constellation
Virgo? Here’s your constellation
Libra? Here’s your constellation
Scorpius? Here’s your constellation
Sagittarius? Here’s your constellation
Capricornus? Here’s your constellation
Aquarius? Here’s your constellation
Pisces? Here’s your constellation
Aries? Here’s your constellation
Birthday late November to early December? Here’s your constellation

Dates of sun's entry into astrological signs versus astronomical constellations.  Chart and more explanation at Guy's Ottewell's blog.  Used with permission.

Dates of sun’s entry into astrological signs versus astronomical constellations. Chart and more explanation at Guy’s Ottewell’s blog. Used with permission.

Click here to learn dates the sun enters each sign of the Zodiac.

Bruce McClure

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