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February 27, 2010

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In the Solar System, the planets and the Sun share roughly the same plane of orbit, known as the plane of the ecliptic. From our perspective on Earth, the ecliptic is the path taken by the Sun across the sky over the course of the year. The 12 constellations which line the ecliptic are known as the zodiac and, through the year, the Sun passes through each constellation in turn. Additionally, over time, the Sun's annual passage appears to recede counterclockwise by one degree every 72 years. This movement is attributed to a slight wobble in the Earth's axis as it spins. As a result, approximately every 2160 years, the constellation visible on the early morning of the spring equinox changes. In Western astrological traditions, this signals the end of one astrological age(currently the Age of Pisces) and the beginning of another(Age of Aquarius). Over the course of 26,000 years, the precession of the equinoxes makes one full circuit around the ecliptic.

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