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    Re: Uses of almanacs for astrology
    From: Frank Reed CT
    Date: 2004 Oct 19, 21:14 EDT
    Fred H wrote:
    "I don't know much about astrology, but the results of at least some of
    their computations correspond to the orientation of the heavens back in
    Roman times, not now.  Thus, the first point of Aries is not now in
    Aries but between Pisces & Aquarius.  This is due to the precession of
    the earth's orbit relative to the heavens.  I suppose the Nautical
    Almanac might be useful for astrological calculations, but the earth's
    orbit would have to be shifted to account for this.  I also don't know
    how the current ephemerides for the planets, as opposed to sun, match
    up between the two systems.  For astrological computations, it seems it
    would be easier to use the old ephemerides rather than our new-fangled
    ones."

    I won't belabor this since it's off-topic, but the astrological "signs" are not the constellations of the same name. The signs are simply 30 degree bands of ecliptic longitude for the present coordinate system. So there's no precession problem (at least the way that the majority of astrology is practiced, but there are lots of "schools" of astrology and a small number do have precession problems from what I've heard).

    Bringing this back to celestial navigation, the early Nautical Almanacs listed the ecliptic coordinates of the planets under the heading S.D.M.S. The D.M.S. part is clearly degrees, minutes, and seconds. But the first S is for "sign". So for example, if a planet has an ecliptic longitude of 35d 30' 45" it would have been listed in the almanac as 1.5.30.45 (assuming that the first sign is counted as "0").

    Frank R
    [ ] Mystic, Connecticut
    [X] Chicago, Illinois
       
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