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Sidereal and Tropical Astrology

Sidereal and Tropical are astronomical terms used to describe two different definitions of a "year". They are also used as terms for two systems of ecliptic coordinates used in astrology.
Both divide the ecliptic into a number of "signs" named after constellations, but while the sidereal system defines the signs based on the fixed stars, the tropical system defines it based on the position of vernal equinox (i.e. the intersection of the ecliptic with the celestial equator). Because of the precession of the equinoxes, the two systems do not remain fixed relative to each other but drift apart by about 1.4 arc degrees per century.
The tropical system was adopted during the Hellenistic period and remains prevalent in western astrology. A sidereal system is used in Vedic astrology, and in some 20th-century systems of western astrology.
While classical tropical astrology is based on the orientation of the Earth relative to the Sun and planets of the solar system, sidereal astrology deals with the position of the Earth relative to both of these as well as the stars of the celestial sphere. The actual positions of certain fixed stars as well as their constellations is an additional consideration in the horoscope.

Vedic  astrology

Traditional Vedic astrology is based on the sidereal or visible zodiac, accounting for the shift of the equinoxes by a correction called ayanamsa. The difference between the Vedic and the Western zodiacs is currently around 24 degrees. This corresponds to a separation of c. 1700 years, when the vernal equinox was approximately at the center of the constellation Pisces and the tropical zodiac coincided with the sidereal one (around 290 AD, or at 23.86° as of 2000 according to N. C. Lahiri, renowned author of Lahiri's Ephemeris published from kolkata, India. The separation is believed to have taken place in the centuries following Ptolemy (2nd century AD), apparently going back to Indo-Greek transmission of the system. But earlier Greek astronomers like Eudoxus spoke of vernal equinox at 15° in Aries, while later Greeks spoke of vernal equinox at 8° and then 0° in Aries (cf. p. 16, S. Jim Tester in ref.), which suggests use of sidereal zodiac in Greece before Ptolemy and Hipparchus.

Sidereal western astrology

Some western astrologists have shown interest in the sidereal system during the 20th century.
Cyril Fagan assumes the origin of the zodiac in 786 BC, when the vernal equinox lay somewhere in mid-Aries, based on a major conjunction that occurred that year,[1] corresponding to a difference of some 39 degrees or days.
Most sidereal astrologers simply divide the ecliptic into 12 equal signs of 30 degrees but approximately aligned to the 12 zodiac constellations. Assuming an origin of the system in 786 BCE, this results in an identical system as that of the classical tropical zodiac, shifted by 25.5 days, i.e., if in tropical astrology, Aries is taken to begin at March 21, sidereal Aries will begin on April 15.


Sidereal Date

Tropical date



April 15 - May 15

March 21 - April 20



May 16 - June 15

April 21 - May 20



June 16 - July 15

May 21 - June 20



July 16 - August 15

June 21 - July 21



August 16 - September 15

July 22 - August 22



September 16 - October 15

August 23 - September 22



October 16 - November 15

September 23 - October 22



November 16 - December 15

October 23 - November 21



December 16 - January 14

November 22 - December 21



January 15 - February 14

December 22 - January 20



February 15 - March 14

January 21 - February 19



March 15 - April 14

February 20 - March 20

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