The stars shine brightly above Mines: A little fun with the zodiac

Of the problems that humanity has when dealing with the concept of space, one of the most hampering is the extreme distances involved. Astronomers are well aware that even the closest objects in deeper space are beyond analogy for the average human being to thoroughly comprehend. And along with the problem of distance, there is a distinct problem when it comes to comparative size. Off the top of you head, compare the size of the Earth to the Sun in your mind; while the planet is not necessarily a massless dot when compared to our star, our planet is almost negligible when it comes to the shear size of our solar body.

So if the distances to the stars are so big and the difference in size is so absurd, why is it that such outdated information still persists today in the form of the zodiac and astrology? From the point of view of an astronomer, the constellations of the zodiac have a minor importance, all constellations do. Constellations are essentially a zip code for the sky; if an astronomer finds a new nebula and they want to report it, they can mention that it would be in Orion near the alpha star, for example. And in addition to locating stars, constellations represent stories from civilizations long past.

When the point of view of a constellation changes, whether it be a different mindset or a completely different location in the galaxy, the original form of the constellation is lost. Some societies that border each other have entirely different forms associated with the stars. For instance, in one civilization the bright set of seven stars in the picture may represent a mighty bear while in another those stars are the form of a ladle. When you take these seven stars again and rotate your view and fly away from Earth, some of the stars are almost within reach while others are just distant memories.

The significance of the zodiac from an Earth based perspective is simple; it’s where the Sun and its menagerie of planets pass. Back before humanity knew about the true nature of the cosmos, these bodies were treated as equal and their positions were of importance. We know today though that this importance is just one of perspective and holds no weight when we move beyond our geocentric misconceptions.

Whether you find yourself holding onto the belief that a few stars, which have less of an impact on you than a fly, bear some meaning on your true personality or you just like looking up your horoscope, remember, the universe is much grander than that. We truly have been affected by the stars, but not so much in the metaphysical realm; it was originally nearby stars that fed our infantile system with the heavy elements that have allowed the Earth and other planets to form as they have. In addition, gamma ray bursts from nearby stars have possibly affected the direct course of evolution, while the nearest star, our Sun, has made the solar system possible. The universe is truly an amazing place.

May the Stars Shine Brightly in Your Skies.

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