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Zodiac Zone: Meet Sagittarius ♐

Zodiac Zone: Meet Sagittarius ♐

Nearly everyone knows a little something about astrology — even if it’s only where to find the daily horoscope section in the local newspaper. Whether you truly believe the stars control your destiny, think it’s all bunk, or just like to have fun with it, the 12 signs of the zodiac are part of our cultural heritage. Over the next year, the Farmers’ Almanac will introduce you to the facts and mythology behind each constellation in the traditional Western zodiac. This month, Sagittarius.

Sagittarius is the ninth constellation of the zodiac. Its name is the Latin word meaning “the archer.”

The astrological symbol for Sagittarius is ♐, and the constellation sits in the sky between Scorpius and Ophiuchus to the west and Capricornus to the east. Other nearby constellations include Aquila, Scutum, Serpens Cauda, Corona Australis, Telescopium, and Microscopium.

The constellation contains 68 stars, 12 of which form its centaur shape — the half-man, half-horse creature from Greek mythology — in the midst of shooting an arrow. Sagittarius includes 16 stars with planets orbiting them, more than any other constellation. Its brightest stars form a popular asterism — an unofficial constellation — called “the Teapot.”

Sagittarius is notable because it contains the galactic center of the Milky Way. Because of this, it contains many star clusters and nebulae, including the bright star cluster Messier 55, and three nebulae known as “the Sagittarius triplet”: the Lagoon Nebula (Messier 8), the Omega Nebula (Messier 17), and Trifid Nebula (Messier 20).

There were many centaurs in Greek mythology, but Sagittarius is most often associated with Chiron, son of the Titan god Cronus and a nymph named Philyra. Cronus had changed himself into a horse to escape the notice of his jealous wife, Rhea, resulting in his son being born a centaur. Chiron was said to be the wisest and most noble of all the centaurs, and he served as tutor to many epic heroes. He was also renowned as a healer, but ironically, could not heal himself after Hercules accidentally struck him with a poisoned arrow. The pain was so great, Chiron relinquished his immortality to escape it, and the gods memorialized him by placing his likeness in the sky for all eternity.

To the ancient Babylonians, the constellation represented the god Pabilsag, a centaur-like figure with wings, two heads — a panther head and a human head — and a scorpion’s stinger.

Astrologically, the Sun resides in the house of Sagittarius from November 22 to December 22 each year. People born during this period have Sagittarius as their Sun sign. Proponents of astrological determinism believe that people born under the same Sun sign share certain character traits. Sagittarius people are most often described as confident, honest, extroverted, optimistic, lighthearted, witty, spontaneous, and open.

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  • this website sucks says:

    bery useful. bery bery useful. thanks

  • steven louton says:

    I was born under the sign of the horse, and in the Chinese year of the horse.
    Life has been an interesting journey, but there have been times when I have wondered if I was the horses ass.lol lol
    That is what makes me a good Sagittarian, the ability to look in the mirror and laugh at myself at times.

  • Janice Makofski says:

    I have to say that there is a total difference between a Sagittarius woman and a Sagittarius man!

  • solid gold says:

    My sister is a Sagittarius, & the good qualities are true about her. She is wonderful & I love her so much.

  • Delilah says:

    CONGRATULATIONS to Ann Wyatt. it doesn’t matter what sign a bad person is! if it ain’t working out – GET OUT of the relationship. life is too short to waste with an unworthy person.

  • ann wyatt says:

    Today day2 December 2010/ I found the article about sagittarius so true except I am only 8hours out of a bad relationship with a man who is under the sign of the archer I couldn’t believe it when i read it a few minutes ago he never measured up to the description given here .I’m so glad I got away and I was feeling guilty now I am free . thank you for this one Farmers Almanac A.Wyatt

  • If you notice a hole in the upper left-hand corner of your Farmers' Almanac, don't return it to the store! That hole isn't a defect; it's a part of history. Starting with the first edition of the Farmers' Almanac in 1818, readers used to nail holes into the corners to hang it up in their homes, barns, and outhouses (to provide both reading material and toilet paper). In 1919, the Almanac's publishers began pre-drilling holes in the corners to make it even easier for readers to keep all of that invaluable information (and paper) handy.

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