Where is the zodiac located in the universe?

  1. I just know that zodiac surrounds the sun. However, is it inside the solar system? Is it inside the milky way galaxy? Or it is outside milky way and distributed in other constellations? I have searched numerous times about this but there is no information on the web. Thanks for answering.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Vanadium 50

    Vanadium 50 17,346
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    The constellations of the zodiac are made up of stars, and the stars are inside the Milky Way but outside the solar system. Also, the stars are at different distances from each other, so just because the stars appear near each other in the sky doesn't mean they are near each other in real life.
     
  4. Think of it this way: When you take a 2D photograph of a landscape, the picture that you see is a "constellation" But the individual elements that comprise your landscape (trees, mountains, buildings, cats) may all have been at different distances from you, but when you took the picture you represented them n a single 2D plane.

    Likewise, when you look up at the sky and see a constellation like Taurus, you are not seeing a single grouping of stars, it just looks that way because all of the stars are so far away you cannot perceive depth. If you traveled closer to Taurus, you would eventually see that some stars are a lot closer than others, but they all looked close together from afar because of their varying luminosity.

    So there is no "location" to the constellations of the zodiac because they are all just starscapes, with each member at its own unique location in the picture you see. While most of the stars that you see are, in general, in our own galaxy, The Milky Way, this is not necessarily always true.
     
  5. Jonathan Scott

    Jonathan Scott 1,340
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    All stars visible with the naked eye from Earth are within the Milky Way galaxy.

    The stars in the well-known constellations are all relatively close to Earth. The Milky Way is something like 100,000 light years across, but the stars we can see are from 4 light years away (at which distance the sun would be visible but not very bright) to about 4,000 light years (at which distance we can only see stars which are thousands of times brighter than the sun).

    Most constellations in the sky are just random patterns formed by stars at significantly varying distances, but there are exceptions, in that for example five of the stars in Ursa Major are a physical group which originally formed near one another.
     
  6. I think I've read that in more ancient times, there were more stars to connect together so the constellations resembled better the signs they represented. Taurus, the bull, looked more like a bull to the ancients than it does now to us.
     
  7. i agree in that the shapes of some constellations clearly do not match the names given to them. gets really annoying sometimes :(
     
  8. Is the solar system moves with the zodiac or without ?
     
  9. wat.
     
  10. Chronos

    Chronos 9,771
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    The constellations have not perceptibly changed in the last few million years. All reside within this spiral arm of the milky way. Check back in a billion years, things will probably have changed by then.
     
  11. Vanadium 50

    Vanadium 50 17,346
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    Actually, stars do move enough to cause the constellations to change. The star rho Aquilae is now in Delphinus, because it has moved over the centuries. Sirius, Arcturus and Aldebaran have all moved about the apparent width of the moon in the past 2000 years.
     
  12. Does the other stars in the zodiac have solar systems ?
     
  13. That's interesting because the zodiac represents a specific set of stars and I'm sure you know of the recent work with detecting planets around other stars. I guess the count is about 200 now. Of those located, how many of them are orbiting stars in the zodiac maybe would be a more explicit question. Maybe though that's off-topic. Still interesting. I know a little about Astronomy but I cannot just point to a star in the sky and say, "that one has planets around it".
     
  14. russ_watters

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    I think by this point it is safe to conclude that most main sequence stars have solar systems.
     
  15. Does the radiation from the stars travels to the earth ? or it's just the heliospheric current sheet?
     
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2010
  16. Vanadium 50

    Vanadium 50 17,346
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    Of course. That's why you can see them.
     
  17. Does the moon reflects the radiations from stars and/or the heliospheric current sheet back to earth ?
     
  18. russ_watters

    Staff: Mentor

    I don't know what a "heliospheric current sheet" is, but the moon reflects light from the sun, which is why we can see it (it also reflects light from the earth which is most noticeable in a crescent phase).
     
  19. Jonathan Scott

    Jonathan Scott 1,340
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    I've no idea why the "heliospheric current sheet" is being repeatedly mentioned. According to Wikipedia, it's the surface (shown in a pretty graphic) where the sun's magnetic field switches sign, where a small electrical current in space occurs.
     
  20. What it is not known about the zodiac ?
     
  21. Redbelly98

    Redbelly98 12,020
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    Thread locked.
     
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