Talk:Ophiuchus

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Year and a day[edit]

The expression “a year and a day” in fairy tales is probably a remnant where the calendar was reckoned in thirteen 28 day months with a single day left over. The Roman god Janus with his two heads looking in opposite directions may be the god positioned on the extra day. He is looking to the year past and the year ahead. The thirteenth sign may be part of the Mystery cults and removed from the eyes of the profane. It was undoubtedly an Earth Goddess sign (her sign was the serpent, after all) and suppressed by the change to a patralineal society.

There was a concerted effort by most religious sects to dethrone the moon as the object of keeping time and replace it with the sun. The astrological priesthood needed to remover her constellation in order to provide a solar year of 4 equal parts. The Masonic rituals still refer to the squaring of the circle in astrological terms using the signs of the zodiac.

In the Bible, Eve was “cast out” of the Garden of Eden and may be a reference to the suppression of Ophiucus and the earth goddess religious sects.

Tau Ceti[edit]

"If we were to observe Earth's Sun from Tau Ceti, it would appear as a 2.54 magnitude star in Ophiuchus."

Not true. The Sun would be in Bootes and of magnitude 1.43 (according to Starry Night Pro).

It would be in Bootes, but with a magnitude of 2.66 (3.64parsecs away)
I believe you're corrected, and have edited out the Tau Ceti reference. -- Curps 03:34, 12 October 2005 (UTC)

Discussion of the Reasons Why Ophiuchus was Dropped from the Zodiac[edit]

The section giving the "reasons" Ophiuchus was dropped from the Zodiac needs to be discussed further. The History of Astrology article also should be expanded because it is more general and not specific. This article and that article are not too informative. I'm curious as to when Ophiuchus was dropped from the official Zodiac listing and for what reasons. We know Libra was carved out of the claws of Scorpius and the stars of Libra even bear the word "claw" in them (Zugen-). The reasons I've seen by searching online were:

1. European superstition over the number 13. This would explain why in Christianized Europe, astrology would only have 12 signs.

2. effort to switch away from a 13 month lunar calendar and onto a 12 month solar calendar as a result of secular revisions in the calendar or due to religious clashes between solar-based and lunar-based religions.

It would make sense that the Greeks had 12 constellations (Ophiuchus but no Libra), but what of the Romans? The celestial bodies would certainly pass through Ophiuchus still.


Another question is what is the history of the constellation's name. The 12 other constellations have Latin names, yet Ophiuchus has its Greek name used. What was the history of its name usage? The Greeks called it Ophiuchus, the Romans Serpentarius, but what about the European peoples who came after them? Did they switch the name back if they were the ones to drop it from the astrological zodiac or did it revert back for some other reason?


The real way to answer this question is to look at every ancient society: Roman, Greek, Egyptian, and the various Mesopotamian peoples and see how many constellations they had and what those constellations were. It would also be curious to see when the Elements (Fire, Water, Earth, Air) and Temperaments (Cardinal, Fixed, Mutable) were associated with the signs to see how they have changed with the removal of this sign if they even existed before Ophiuchus was removed. I've seen accounts saying the Romans created Libra, but the Babylonians also viewed the stars in that span of the ecliptic as a pair of scales. It would be good to sort out what the Zodiac meant to the various ancient cultures, what characteristics they defined the Zodiac through (element, etc) and how many constellations they considered to be in the Zodiac. --139.67.202.120 06:23, 13 February 2006 (UTC)

There are 12 signs because that's just how the system was developed. At least as far back as Hellenistic astrology, there has been a system of triplicities (earth, air, fire, water), quadruplicates (fixed, mutable, cardinal), planetary rulerships, etc., that all depend on an even number of signs, specifically 12. 13 thus does not fit the bill, so this would definitely be a reason to drop Ophiuchus (if it was ever a zodiac sign to begin with, of course). Samuel Grant 22:26, 6 August 2007 (UTC)


I think the more important question, here, isn't why it was dropped, but rather when was it a part of the zodiac. As far as I can tell, all of this discussion comes from one astrologer's recent press release. I've studied various schools of occult thought for over 20 years, admittedly, some more deeply than others, and I have never even heard so much as a peep about this constellation's formerly being among the zodiac.
The claims that it was dropped from the zodiac need to be far, far better substantiated or they need to be dropped from the article or at the very least described in accurate terms as a very recent fringe belief.98.230.50.44 (talk) 02:21, 14 January 2011 (UTC)
Is there any evidence that it was ever part of the Zodiac? The story that set this off claims that the Babylonians "dropped it". Babylonian star catalogues lists Zodiac constellations, but Ophiuchus is not one of them. Did the Babylonians even recognized Ophiuchus as a constellation at all? It is clear that Ophiuchus, as defined by the IAU since 1930 (and also apparently by Ptolemy; http://www.reocities.com/astrologyconstellations/ophiuchus.htm) crosses the ecliptic, so it is a constellation which could be considered to be in the Zodiac. However, it's quite possible that the Babylonians didn't recognize it as a constellation, or drew the boundaries of Ophiuchus such that it didn't contain the ecliptic. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 192.104.39.2 (talk) 22:53, 14 January 2011 (UTC)
From what I've been reading, the Babylonians did recognize it as a constellation but not a zodiacal constellation. There are apparently more than 12 (and, as it happens, more than 13) constellations that cross the ecliptic but are not part of the western astrological system. This raises an interesting point for astrologers and various media outlets, not so much for Wikipedia. Claims that it was once a part of any astrological system need to be substantiated from some primary source (i.e. other than modern 13-sign system advocates or media articles based on them). Information taken from secondary (or tertiary) sources needs to be given the proper caveat. If the relevant section hasn't changed to include only well-cited, accurately worded claims by EOD today, I'll remove and begin working on replacement text. 146.201.16.50 (talk) 15:41, 19 January 2011 (UTC)

I tend to see some assoiation between Ophiuchus and "Laocoon!" See; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laoco%C3%B6n, for more. Could this similarity led to some confusion in the past? Except for the "children" it seems to fit. 96.19.147.40 (talk) 20:57, 13 March 2013 (UTC)Ronald L. Hughes

Earth Goddess?[edit]

Incredibly unlikely that this sign has anything to do with the "Earth Goddess" symbology, because the concept of a universal Earth Goddess which ancient paganism followed is a 20th century invention based on the inaccurate and contrived literature of Margaret Murray in her 1921 book "The Witch-Cult in Western Europe".

While goddess of fertlity and agriculture certaintly were worshiped, these goddess are ancenstral to the present day concept of the "Earth Goddess" invented by Gardner (a good aquaintance of Mrs. Murray) when he constructed Wicca. There was no one singular goddess anymore than there was one singular god. Historically speaking, what was largely suppressed during the Inquisition (or "Burning Times", if you will) was Christian mysticism such as Goetian (demon summoning and commanding using grimories such as the Key of Solomon-- it is interesting to note many Catholic exorcists engaged in the practice at the time) practices and Christian-Kabbalah hybrids. The vast majority of ancient pagan gods were transformed into Saints and incorporated into orthodox Christianity (Catholicism) long before the Inquisition was ever dreamed up. Very little paganism was actually practiced in Europe at the time-- the religious populations were pretty much split between Christian orthodoxy, Judaism/Kabbalah and Islam; although Christian orthodoxy held greater sway of influence than any of the other religions did. Much of the actual religious persecution was against these latter religions by the Christian orthodoxy. The accusations filed against the Knights Templar is a prime example: they were accused of worshiping Mohammed(Baphomet was an extremely common french misspelling of Mohammed) in the official records. The concept that Templars were paganists is a modern day invention.

And any serious scholar of occultic/religious history knows all of these things.

I can only speculate on why Ophiuchus was left out the same way I can only speculate on why the current Zodiac consists of Twelve Constellations but not any others. However, I can say with a great deal of certainty it had nothing to do with the persecution of a non-existant "Earth Goddess cult". --65.102.7.2 02:33, 9 June 2006 (UTC) Even the Italian Benandanti, often used as an example of an "Earth Goddess cult", were in reality a Christian sub-sect for goodness sake! They were tried for heresy not witchcraft. Very different crimes (heresy is deviation from Christian orthodoxy, and witchcraft was anything that had nothing to do with Christianity) --65.102.7.2 02:43, 9 June 2006 (UTC)

I suggest a revision of the above statement that ''Baphomet was an extremely common french misspelling of Mohammed" as this is not a view that is now taken seriously in academic circles and in any event, were the Templars Islamic in some form or other, there is no Muslim sect or group that has ever worshipped Muhammad or would countenance doing so.

pronunciation[edit]

  • "ˌoff-ee-'YOU-kus"? anyone? --W guice 16:15, 31 August 2006 (UTC)
    • [ofiUχus] in Latin, I'd say. Substitute [k] for [χ] if you don't have the loch sound. —Nightstallion (?) 12:58, 5 September 2006 (UTC)
      • Dang. I thought it was "off-EYE-you-kus". Chrisobyrne 13:42, 3 November 2006 (UTC)
        • A sound file with the correct pronunciation would be a good idea for this and several other areas of Astronomy Constellations. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Randyrls (talkcontribs) 13:04, 24 May 2010 (UTC)
♠My $0.02 (based on 2yrs of Latin...), it's "oh FEE i koose". A sound file is a good idea, if we can agree on which pronounciation to use. (My impression is, most Latin pronounciation today is very Italianate...) TREKphiler any time you're ready, Uhura 04:50, 26 May 2010 (UTC)

Constellation borders?[edit]

It looks from the image on teh wikibox that Alpha Ophiucus is in the area of hte sky assigned to Hercules. Why is that? Nik42 06:27, 26 May 2007 (UTC)

There are two images on Hercules (constellation), one steals the star from Ophiuchus and one doesn't. Maurog 08:44, 23 July 2007 (UTC)

Ophiuchus symbol from Japanese sidereal astrology[edit]

Apparently sidereal astrology is sufficiently popular in Japan that they have their own symbol for Ophiuchus, which is included in Emoji. (The symbol can be seen at this emoji->unicode proposal - it is e-037 and is proposed to be U+26CE.) Is this worth adding to the article? Does its existence in emoji make it sufficiently notable/verifiable for inclusion? DenisMoskowitz (talk) 21:20, 16 September 2009 (UTC)

Ah, I'll just be bold. DenisMoskowitz (talk) 18:21, 17 September 2009 (UTC)
That's where that symbol comes from? I saw it in Final Fantasy Tactics, I thought SquareSoft made it up. Thanks for the info! - MK (t/c) 08:18, 18 September 2009 (UTC)
Knowledge_Incarnate, I don't see anything in the Unicode table you linked that says the Staff of Aesculapius is connected to Ophiuchus. The text is:
  • 2695 STAFF OF AESCULAPIUS
  • =medical term
  • both inclined or upright renderings of this symbol are common
  • -> 2624 caduceus
DenisMoskowitz (talk) 02:20, 19 September 2009 (UTC)
I've seen both the caduceus (☤) and the rod of Asclepius (⚕) used to represent Serpentarius before, but it's very uncommon. One of the Real Solar Zodiac websites uses the caduceus here. Some other variant is used on the NASA website here. Even some guy on IMVU has his own varient of the emoji sign, heh. - MK (t/c) 14:29, 19 September 2009 (UTC)
The thicker symbol looks good, DanPMK. As far as I'm concerned you could have just updated the original file with your new version, but whatever. DenisMoskowitz (talk) 17:20, 22 September 2009 (UTC)
Sorry... - MK (t/c) 01:08, 24 September 2009 (UTC)

Splitoff[edit]

Yesterday I splitoff Ophiuchus (astrology) from this article: I think the mythological stuff takes too much place in quite a few articles, and that astronomical facts is the main point, while mythology, history and visualizations only serves as a memoization aid in order to add a "human decoration" to the spicey spacey rock hard astronomy facts. ... said: Rursus (mbork³) 09:10, 5 November 2009 (UTC)

Images[edit]

Would be nice to have a pc of the famous Rho Ophiuchus nebula [1]. Fig (talk) 22:07, 20 November 2009 (UTC)

Leggo my snake[edit]

"until recently"? When, exactly, did the Greek superceed? TREKphiler any time you're ready, Uhura 19:58, 17 December 2009 (UTC)

Agreed. If this wasn't known before the Roman era, then why is the Greek name more popular? —Preceding unsigned comment added by 98.21.97.157 (talk) 22:53, 17 January 2011 (UTC)

Alpha Hercularis[edit]

Why is this star shown as being part of the constellation of Oph. in the info box? 203.206.23.120 (talk) 02:43, 15 May 2010 (UTC)

I don't see Alpha Her in the infobox, but I see that the brightest star is Alpha Oph. BlueEarth (talk | contribs) 21:09, 15 May 2010 (UTC)

Mythology a blank spot[edit]

The mythology section was just removed from the astrology article on the premise it's about "modern astrology, not the history" etc. I've asked the deleting editor the why and the wherefore of that, but it's also curious to me why it's not here. Are astronomers so "anti-superstition" they don't even deign to include the mythological origin of the signs; are the other zodiacal constellations and other constellations also bereft of any reference to their mythological origins, or the figures they represent??Skookum1 (talk) 19:19, 17 January 2011 (UTC)

Needs to be restored, anyone want to be bold? Coolgamer (talk) 01:43, 9 February 2011 (UTC)
I think I 2RRd it already, doesn't really matter if I were too as I'm a long-time editor but I really don't like edit warring....go ahead and restore it, add a cite/fact tag, and I'll do what I can at the library here to see what I can find out about its mythological origins; it's not like modern astrologers put this in the sky, is it? The Imhotelp seems plausible to me, at least insofar as a claim possibly made by the hermetic tradition if not the actual Egyptian origin. The otehr serpent-wrestler in Greek legend, other than Heracles, is Apollo himself, who wrastled with Python for control of the Delphic oracle; I doubt that's the reference, though, but it may be.....Skookum1 (talk) 03:12, 9 February 2011 (UTC)

confused association with zodiac signs[edit]

This section should be moved to Ophiuchus (astrology), an article that was split of here in 2009, and was just voted a Keep in an AfD nomination. As for the constellation Ophiuchus there is no confusion or controversy at all that it is part of the astronomical zodiac, as per IAU defintion of 1930. This is also being reflected in Ophiuchus being listed as such in Zodiac#Table_of_dates.
Any controversy among astrologers about using Ophiuchus in the astrological zodiac clearly belongs in Ophiuchus (astrology).
There is no need to reopen the debates that led to the splitting up of this article in 2009. MakeSense64 (talk) 08:16, 20 July 2011 (UTC)

The one paragraph clarifying the situation needs to remain on this page, regardless of whether there is another page that explores that issue more fully. The paragraph can include a link to the other page too, so that those who want to can follow it (I will add that in). Also consider that the other page does not give clear information to differentiate between fact and fiction; this page must, to prevent a situation where editors continually try to add rubbishy confused details about this, and so that the page holds one very clear statement that Ophiuchus is a constellation and has never been a sign, with a brief explanation of why such confusion ever occured. And BTW, pages do not need to lose relevant information because there are other pages that contain similar information too.
Please do not remove this relevant and substantiated information again without obtaining consensus first. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Zachariel (talkcontribs) 08:39, 20 July 2011 (UTC)
The lede immediately starts with This article is about the constellation. For the astrological sign, see Ophiuchus (astrology)
That's how it is done per WP guidelines.
So your arguments on that point are without merit.
There is no need to add more 'see also' links, one is enough.
Can you explain why you are reintroducing material about astrologer's confusion here, after exactly that kind of materials has been split off from this article by concensus agreement in 2009? And it was you who nominated Ophiuchus (astrology) for deletion last week isn't it? How does that fit together? MakeSense64 (talk) 09:05, 20 July 2011 (UTC)
The addition clarifies that the *constellation* is not to be confused with the sign; therefore it is entirely appropriate for the article on the constellation - and necessary. It is not astrologers who suffer from confusion on this point, it is the general public and the media, who turn to this page to understand the position better, and rightly expect that some kind of reliable statement concerning the issue is given here. Zac Δ talk 10:00, 20 July 2011 (UTC)
There is no need to clarify what a constellation is. People can look it up on WP if they want.
Criteria like "appropriate" and "necessary" for the media and general public, are not mentioned in any WP policies or guidelines. Who decides on what is "appropriate" or "necessary"? You?
If the general public wants to know something about the controversy around astrology of Ophiuchus, then they will find it on Ophiuchus (astrology)
So, again your argument makes no sense.
I will repeat my question which I don't see addressed:
Can you explain why you are reintroducing material about astrologer's confusion here, after exactly that kind of materials has been split off from this article by concensus agreement in 2009? And it was you who nominated Ophiuchus (astrology) for deletion last week isn't it? How does that fit together?
MakeSense64 (talk) 15:41, 20 July 2011 (UTC)
No comment or new elements after 3 days, so we can assume that User:Zachariel has dropped his objections to the proposed edit. I will now go ahead with the change according to concensus.
If there are any other arguments to keep the astrology references here, despite Ophiuchus (astrology) just having been voted a Keep for that purpose, then feel welcome to bring them here to Talk. MakeSense64 (talk) 10:46, 23 July 2011 (UTC)
Please don’t ever assume that if I don’t keep repeating answers to repeating questions that you can take this as my tacit agreement. Once I have given my comment, even if I don’t comment again for 3 months you cannot assume my mind has changed. It is not OK to remove relevant and appropriate content from Wikipedia (as this is relevant here). Zac Δ talk 20:26, 23 July 2011 (UTC)
I've been glancing at this debate occasionally, & I'm finding it pretty silly. The hatnote expressly says there's an astrological sign which isn't this & points to the astrology page in question. What possible need can there be for adding anything else? It's off-topic at best, trivial cruft at worst, needless either way. Delete & quit arguing about it. TREKphiler any time you're ready, Uhura 23:13, 23 July 2011 (UTC)

No there isn't an astology sign and that's the point. I have corrected the hatline because there is only a false rumour that Ophiuchus comprises an astrological sign. That confusion regularly circulates and brings readers to this page in search of clarification. There is only the constellation Ophiuchus, which gets mistakenly presumed to be a sign. This is a point of reference, notability and interest for the constellation it involves. It is a discreet comment but factually correct, highly relevant and sourced. Zac Δ talk 23:53, 23 July 2011 (UTC)

Y'know what? I don't care if there's a 13h or a 19h astrological sign. The debate over it belongs on another page. It is on another page. There is no good reason for it being on this page, which has nothing to do with astrology. What I simply cannot grasp is why you insist on bringing it here, when it has nothing to do with the subject of this page & is covered extensively & well elsewhere. It is, I submit, a silly damn argument to be having. TREKphiler any time you're ready, Uhura 06:47, 24 July 2011 (UTC)
I don't accept that a comment specifically about this constellation has nothing to do with this constellation. I don't care if it's the 7th or 19th sign either, no one has ever suggested it is. But I could supply more references than you would want to look at where major news broadcasters have given misunderstood 'news reports' to say that this constellation is the 13th astrological sign. Check the other zodiac constellation pages and you will see that they have references to that fact that they are also astrological signs; so it is in keeping that this one has a small comment clarifying that this one is not. Zac Δ talk 11:03, 24 July 2011 (UTC)
I have put this to DR: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Dispute_resolution_noticeboard#Ophiuchus.2C_Ophiuchus_.28astrology.29
MakeSense64 (talk) 11:18, 24 July 2011 (UTC)

The section "Confused association with zodiac signs" is unprovable in its present form because there is no association of astrologers that has world-wide recognition comparable to the recognition that the International Astronomical Union receives from astronomers and international standards-setting organizations. Therefore, there is no forum in which to decide the issue. If such a section is to exist, it should only briefly summarize the confusion that exists, especially in media that serves the general public (as opposed to astronomy- or astrology-media). Jc3s5h (talk) 20:31, 25 July 2011 (UTC)

Whatever confusion exists about it is covered in Ophiuchus (astrology), so it doesn't need to be covered here as well. To give it a section here is giving it undue weight in an article that is about an astronomical constellation. That's why the article was split in 2009. MakeSense64 (talk) 21:07, 25 July 2011 (UTC)
The latter point (of Makesense64) is against WP policy. If the matter is relevant to the subject of Ophiuchus (which it is), then even though the more extensive coverage is spun off into a separate page, there should still be a short summary provided on this page, along with the link to the daughter article - see WP:SS. It is never undue weight to give clarifying information on a notable point of interest regarding the subject of the page, but here we are talking about an astronomical matter anyway, so I’m not sure what there could be undue weight towards.
Jc3s5h, this is a point that you have failed to grasp too. The zodiac was designed for the purpose of astronomical measurement, to divide the ecliptic into 360 degrees of celestial longitude and provide 12 equal subdivisions of 30° each; which reflects associated calendrical divisions. This is the case regardless of whether the tropical zodiac or the sidereal zodiac is used; has been the case of two and a half thousand years, and remains the astronomical reality today. See ‘Smith's illustrated astronomy’ which explains in basic language how the signs of the zodiac act as astronomical divisions of celestial longitude which are historically used as shorthand notations for absolute longitude. Hence we don’t need a committee of modern astrologers to decide the legitimate number of zodiacal signs, they would have no remit to do so since the zodiac presents a system of astronomical measurement specifically intended to give 12 equal divisions of the ecliptic measuring 30° each, and does not allow a division into any other number. The fact that those divisions have also acquired astrological meaning is a red herring to the astronomical point which is being clarified on this page. Please note that there is not a single astrological reference in the text I have contributed: this is an astronomical principle, not an astrological one. Zac Δ talk 08:36, 26 July 2011 (UTC)
According to the front matter, Asa Smith was a school principal and the book was published in 1848. It is not a reliable source by the standards in Wikipedia:Identifying reliable sources nor according to my personal concepts of what a reliable source is. It would be pointless to establish whether the astronomical community used zodiac signs in sense of 12 equal divisions of the zodiac for actual measurements (even very rough ones) in the past; they do not, so far as I can tell, today. This article is about astronomy, not the history of astronomy.
The source was given for your elucidation, because anyone with a good basic knowledge of astronomy ought to know that an astrological sign demarks 30° of celestial longitude and represents a division of the ecliptic into 12 (they were originally called "the twelfth parts"). And yes these divisions were used for actual measurments - not "very rough ones" but precise ones. Zac Δ talk 14:57, 26 July 2011 (UTC)
If the confusion about Ophiuchus is worth including at all, that short section would be about astrologers perception of the signs of the zodiac, not astronomer's perceptions. Since this article is written for readers interested in astronomy, one cannot expect readers to be familiar with which, if any, sources, give a reliable overview of the practices of the entire astrological community, or at least that part of the community that uses the zodiac at all. It is up to those who want to include the section to first convince editors with a reasonable understanding of astronomy that such a source exists, give the bibliographic details, and demonstrate the source supports whatever is to be included in the article. Jc3s5h (talk) 12:37, 26 July 2011 (UTC)
When you say "If the confusion about Ophiuchus is worth including at all" ... can you explain to me why it would not be (so I understand your objection)? This is, after all, a point that receives international media attention.
Since the comments made don't lean towards opinions but only briefly report the fact of the matter, can you explain why you would rather have it written towards perceptions? Let's remind ourselves of what is being discussed here. The comments read (in full):

Because of the partial overlap of the constellation Ophiuchus and the Sun's path upon which zodiacal longitude is based, Ophiuchus is sometimes mistakenly referred to as the '13th sign of the zodiac'. This is an innapropriate reference since the zodiac is a division of the ecliptic into twelve equal parts, initially originated for calendrical purposes. This makes the notion of a '13th sign' a mathematical impossibility. It is only correct to refer to Ophiuchus as one of the constellations which cross the zodiac; which does not constitute a zodiacal sign, of which all historical records acknowledge only twelve. (ref)

What part of that comment gives you a problem and why? What would you rather it said instead?
Also can you explain why you think this article is written only for readers interested in astronomy generally rather than readers interested in the relevant details of this constellation specifically; why this would interrupt anyone's interest in astronomy anyway; and why you don't accept that the page will be read by schoolchildren, journalists, and general members of the public who are curious about the widespread misunderstandings? Do you think it would be helpful to include the following footnote (as the Zodiac page does)?: Zac Δ talk 14:57, 26 July 2011 (UTC)

The notion [of Ophiuchus being a sign] received further international media attention in January 2011, when it was reported that astronomer Parke Kunkle, a board-member of the Minnesota Planetarium Society, had suggested that Ophiuchus was the zodiac's '13th sign'. He later issued a statement to say he had not reported that the zodiac ought to include 13 signs instead of 12, but was only mentioning that there were 13 constellations; reported in Mad Astronomy: Why did your zodiac sign change? 13 January 2011.

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Let me address some of your questions, not in order.


"And yes these divisions were used for actual measurments - not "very rough ones" but precise ones." I don't care if they were used by astronomers for measurements, I care if they are used by astronomers.

"Also can you explain why you think this article is written only for readers interested in astronomy generally rather than readers interested in the relevant details of this constellation specifically". Because there is an explicit cross-reference to a different article about the astrology aspects of this constellation, any mention of astrology should be in the nature of an explanatory cross-reference. Also, this article should stick to astronomical measurements and nomenclature; any other measurements or nomenclature should be labeled as such in the immediate vicinity of the measurement or term. I will adopt that approach in these comments.

"When you say 'If the confusion about Ophiuchus is worth including at all' ... can you explain to me why it would not be (so I understand your objection?" The current version is unacceptable, as explained elsewhere. I can't form an opinion about whether a new version should be included until I can read the new version.

As for the specific contents of the passage as it now exists, I question the source. Prove that the magazine is a reliable source and the author of the particular article is qualified to comment on, and give a fair overview of, all astrologers who use anything like the 12, 13, or 14 signs of the zodiac. Also, within the citation, what does "tropical zodiac" mean? What other kinds of zodiac are there, and how prevalent are they? How do you know the original reason the ecliptic was divided into 12 equal parts was for calendrical purposes? The source does not say anything about calendars.

"zodiac is a division of the ecliptic into twelve equal parts" is an incorrect definition in an astronomy article. A correct astronomical definition may be found in the American Heritage Dictionary 3rd ed. (1992): "1.a. Astronomy. A band of the celestial sphere extending about 8° to either side of the ecliptic that represents the path of the principal planets, the moon, and the sun." The same source supports the idea that at least in English, the predominant meaning of zodiac in the astrological sense is "b. In astrology, this band is divided into 12 equal parts called signs, each 30° wide, bearing the name of a constellation for which it was originally named but which it no longe coincides owing to the precession of the equinoxes."

As far as I know, "zodiacal longitude" is not defined in a modern astronomical sense. It is not in the aforementioned American Heritage Dictionary, neither under "zodiacal longitude" nor under "longitude". Nor can it be found under those terms in the Glossary of the Astronomical Almanac Online even though that publication distinguishes among three kinds of longitude.

"...which all historical records acknowledge only twelve." Really? Who checked all historical records? Jc3s5h (talk) 15:46, 26 July 2011 (UTC)

: Your response with my replies more sharply indented (So you can see more clearly who said what):

"And yes these divisions were used for actual measurments - not "very rough ones" but precise ones." I don't care if they were used by astronomers for measurements, I care if they are used by astronomers.
Well yes, it is (and always will be) the case that there are only 12 signs of the zodiac - hence the need for Parke Kunkle to correct himself (see above). But ultimately you shouldn't be arguing for what you care about and what you want to see on the page (see below). Zac Δ talk 17:11, 26 July 2011 (UTC)
"Also can you explain why you think this article is written only for readers interested in astronomy generally rather than readers interested in the relevant details of this constellation specifically". Because there is an explicit cross-reference to a different article about the astrology aspects of this constellation, any mention of astrology should be in the nature of an explanatory cross-reference. Also, this article should stick to astronomical measurements and nomenclature; any other measurements or nomenclature should be labeled as such in the immediate vicinity of the measurement or term. I will adopt that approach in these comments.
Perhaps you missed this point before - if the matter is relevant to the subject of Ophiuchus (which this is), then even though the more extensive coverage of certain points is spun off into a separate page, there should still be a short summary provided on this page, along with the link to the daughter article - see WP:SS. Zac Δ talk 17:11, 26 July 2011 (UTC)
"When you say 'If the confusion about Ophiuchus is worth including at all' ... can you explain to me why it would not be (so I understand your objection?" The current version is unacceptable, as explained elsewhere. I can't form an opinion about whether a new version should be included until I can read the new version.
You have not explained what is not suitable about the current version. What fact do you dispute? Zac Δ talk 17:11, 26 July 2011 (UTC)
As for the specific contents of the passage as it now exists, I question the source. Prove that the magazine is a reliable source and the author of the particular article is qualified to comment on, and give a fair overview of, all astrologers who use anything like the 12, 13, or 14 signs of the zodiac. Also, within the citation, what does "tropical zodiac" mean? What other kinds of zodiac are there, and how prevalent are they? How do you know the original reason the ecliptic was divided into 12 equal parts was for calendrical purposes? The source does not say anything about calendars.
To go into every detail of every astrological rumour would be off-topic. How do I know these things? because I am informed and have studied astronomy. I am not going to educate you on what the tropical zodiac is and the history and original purpose of the zodiac; if you don't know do some research. It is not necessary for that explanation to be made on the page because the comment doesn't rely upon it. Zac Δ talk 17:11, 26 July 2011 (UTC)
"zodiac is a division of the ecliptic into twelve equal parts" is an incorrect definition in an astronomy article. A correct astronomical definition may be found in the American Heritage Dictionary 3rd ed. (1992): "1.a. Astronomy. A band of the celestial sphere extending about 8° to either side of the ecliptic that represents the path of the principal planets, the moon, and the sun." The same source supports the idea that at least in English, the predominant meaning of zodiac in the astrological sense is "b. In astrology, this band is divided into 12 equal parts called signs, each 30° wide, bearing the name of a constellation for which it was originally named but which it no longe coincides owing to the precession of the equinoxes."
There you go. Both definitions are correct (as was mine) and relate to the same divisions. The zodiac is centred upon the ecliptic and extends in breadth about 8-9° either side of the ecliptic, because this is the area of sky which holds the observable movement of all the observable (to the naked eye) planets; it is divided into twelve 30° sections, each of which is traditionally named after the constellation closest to it at its time of invention. The tropical zodiac commences at the vernal equinox (called 0° Aries). There have only ever been twelve of these divisions; never 13.
As far as I know, "zodiacal longitude" is not defined in a modern astronomical sense. It is not in the aforementioned American Heritage Dictionary, neither under "zodiacal longitude" nor under "longitude". Nor can it be found under those terms in the Glossary of the Astronomical Almanac Online even though that publication distinguishes among three kinds of longitude.
Try this : Elements of Astronomy By J. Norman Lockyer p.196-197.
"...which all historical records acknowledge only twelve." Really? Who checked all historical records? Jc3s5h (talk) 15:46, 26 July 2011 (UTC)
Actually it's not necessary to check every historical source because what is not in doubt is the principle of what the zodiac is - a division of the 360° of celestial longitude into 12 equal divisions of 30° (not 13 divisions, 14 or 15 ever - for as long as 360/12=30). The only confusion lies in the incorrect reports of those who do not know what they are talking about, which is a modern phenomenon, not supported in any historical text (astronomical or astrological). There really isn't anything in my comment that is not reliable or factual Zac Δ talk 16:23, 26 July 2011 (UTC)
"Zodiacal longitude" is not defined by Lockyer, as far as I can see. Jc3s5h (talk) 19:11, 26 July 2011 (UTC)
Jc3s5h 'celestial longitude' (which Lockyer defines) is 'zodiacal longitude'. Zac Δ talk 19:40, 26 July 2011 (UTC)

Some recollection[edit]

As another editor pointed out already. The discussion is beyond silly.
Last week Zac was putting Ophiuchus (astrology) up for deletion, arguing that there shouldn't be an article about it.
Now that the article was kept, it is not enough to have an article about it, Zac insists that two other articles need sections about it. A hatnote link to Ophiuchus (astrology) is not sufficient. Does this editor know what he wants?
The difference between the "astronomical zodiac" and "astrological zodiac" is clearly explained in Zodiac, and is equal to the definition that Jc3s5h just brought from another source.
Ophiuchus is one of the 88 modern constellations, and that's all. And astronomers are not confused about it.
Whatever mumbo-jumbo some astrologers have dreamt up about Ophiuchus has its own space in Ophiuchus (astrology). The astrology of Ophiuchus is not that notable, it is only a rather recent fringe theory within astrology. So it is more than enough to link it from the hatnote here. It is not that important that it needs sections in several other articles.
Note to Zac: The way you are cutting up people's responses with line by line replies, is completely unreadable. Maybe that's the purpose? MakeSense64 (talk) 17:29, 26 July 2011 (UTC)


Sorry if my replies were not clear enough - let me restate the situation here, so my points are perfectly lucid.
There is no difference between the "astronomical zodiac" and "astrological zodiac" - these are one and the same. As soon as you use the word 'zodiac' you are talking about the division of celestial longitude into twelve equal divisions of 30° each. You can talk about constellations that cross the zodiac, but you cannot talk about constellations that make the zodiac because the zodiac is only made of mathematical divisions, which begin with the first point of Aries. It is therefore not an astrological discussion to explain how many signs of the zodiac there are, and why Ophiuchus is not one of these. This matter does not need reference to an astrological section or an astrological page, because it is a matter of astronomical definition, and has been so for over 2500 years. Whether astronomers are confused or not, the general public are, and so will expect this page to give some kind of reliable explanation. The content that covers this issue is brief, reliable and factual and - although this has escaped your notice - does not make any astrological reference. (As a reminder, it reads as follows:) Zac Δ talk 18:56, 26 July 2011 (UTC)
"Because of the partial overlap of the constellation Ophiuchus and the Sun's path upon which zodiacal longitude is based, Ophiuchus is sometimes mistakenly referred to as the '13th sign of the zodiac'. This is an innapropriate reference since the zodiac is a division of the ecliptic into twelve equal parts, initially originated for calendrical purposes. This makes the notion of a '13th sign' a mathematical impossibility. It is only correct to refer to Ophiuchus as one of the constellations which cross the zodiac; which does not constitute a zodiacal sign, of which all historical records acknowledge only twelve.[16]" Zac Δ talk 18:56, 26 July 2011 (UTC)
The lede on Zodiac disagrees with you. Quoting:
In astronomy , the zodiac (Greek: ζῳδιακός, zōdiakos) is the ring of constellations that lines the ecliptic, which is the apparent path of the Sun across the celestial sphere over the course of the year. The paths of the Moon and planets also lie roughly within the ecliptic, and so are also within the constellations of the zodiac.
In astrology, the zodiac denotes those signs that divide the ecliptic into twelve equal zones of celestial longitude.
So in astronomy it is the ring of constellations, the 13 of them, including Ophiuchus.
While in astrology it is the signs dividing the ecliptic in 12 equal zones.
Like it or not, a clear distinction is being made. And the same distinction is made in the source that Jc3s5h cited.
Also note that Zodiac is one of the few articles that belongs both to astronomy and astrology category.
The section you want to bring in is completely astrological, because it clearly refers to zodiac in the astrological sense of 12 equal divisions.
Astrological considerations about the "sign" are irrelevant here because the article starts by saying "This article is about the constellation".
What is it you don't understand about that? MakeSense64 (talk) 19:24, 26 July 2011 (UTC)
The lede of the zodiac article is completely wrong in its opening definition. Unreferenced I note. I will add a citation request and request that the lede is corrected. Zac Δ talk 20:01, 26 July 2011 (UTC)
(It's not essential to add citations to a lede, as what is there will be covered, explained and, most importantly, verified by reference further down. The lede sets out the article's salient points, per WP:MOS. If something in the lede is not mentioned and explained in the article it should be removed until it is, and the lede accordingly recast. The pertinence of additions is a different matter of course. A good place for you to add citations needed in the Zodiac article would be the 22 paragraphs that are in severe need of them) Acabashi (talk) 18:52, 28 July 2011 (UTC)
Yes, I can see that the page is another in need of attention. I've made a proposal on the talk page and want to give contributing editors an oportunity to open discussion on the problems. Next week I'll propose a suggestion if no one else does that first. Zac Δ talk 08:52, 30 July 2011 (UTC)
Let me point out that the word "zodiac" was not used in this article, until you brought in the astrology section. In the last sentence before your new section Ophiuchus is said to be a "zodiacal constellation" which gives an internal link to the section that explains the difference between "constellation" and "zodiacal sign" more than sufficiently. That makes your section redundant information here. MakeSense64 (talk) 04:54, 27 July 2011 (UTC)

(outside opinion, I spotted this at the COI noticeboard) Ophiuchus (astrology) is a WP:SPINOUT from this article, but the section should be much smaller, and it needs to put more weight in astronomic terms. Detailed debunking belongs to the astrology article. --Enric Naval (talk) 09:48, 30 July 2011 (UTC)

I have restated JHunterJ's version to use well-defined astronomical terms. JHunterJ's version was unclear because
  1. There is no official definition of "zodiacal longitude".
  2. If we take "zodiacal longitude" to mean celestial longitude, then every celestial object and constellation has a (range of) celestial longitude, so the statement becomes meaningless.
  3. As far as I can tell, modern astronomers no longer offer precise definitions of "sign of the zodiac", and various media use the term in many different ways. Thus, the term is not well enough defined to decide of it is a mistake to describe Ophiuchus as the 13th sign of the zodiac. Jc3s5h (talk) 16:27, 30 July 2011 (UTC)
Jc3s5h, I have undone your edit because it presents the information falsely. The previous definition was too brief in my opinion but at least it wasn't inaccurate. The zodiac is an ecliptic-based frame of astronomical refrence that is used to define celestial latitude and longitude. What you have written above shows misunderstanding and lack of knowledge so if you want to propose an amendment based on sources, it would be a good idea to discuss here first with details of the sources for verification. Please present a page number and not just a book so we can see why you are making the assumptions you are making. It is my intention to correct the information on the zodiac page, BTW, before worrying too much about what this page says, but what is presented here should not be deliberately false or misleading. Zac Δ talk 17:54, 30 July 2011 (UTC)
It is time for dispute resolution. Jc3s5h (talk) 17:58, 30 July 2011 (UTC)

Meaning of zodiacal longitude and sign of the zodiac[edit]

Does this sentence have meaning: "Because of the overlap of Ophiuchus and the zodiacal longitude, Ophiuchus is sometimes mistakenly referred to as the 13th sign of the zodiac"? If so, what do "zodiacal longitude" and "sign of the zodiac" mean? Jc3s5h (talk) 18:01, 30 July 2011 (UTC)

I would propose something like the following for a clearer meaning and to emphasise the astronomy more as suggested by JHunter. This can perhaps be shortened a little, but I think it is better to have a few more words and clarify the issue, than less and leave it confusing:
"Because of the partial overlap of the constellation Ophiuchus and the Sun's apparanent path ( ecliptic) which is used to determine the Zodiac, Ophiuchus is sometimes mistakenly referred to as the '13th sign of the zodiac'. This is an innapropriate reference since the zodiac is a twelve-fold division of the ecliptic's 360° of celestial longitude, so that each sign of the zodiac measures 30° of celestial longitude, approximately the distance that the Sun will travel in a month. Whilst it is correct to refer to Ophiuchus as one of the constellations which overlap the belt of the zodiac; this does not constitute a zodiacal sign. Constellations are irregular in size and based on observable star clusters; zodiac signs are mathematically determined to create precise alignment with the the seasonal equinoxes and solstices."
I can provide references for these points, but let's see if other editors are happy with the size and wording, or what might need to be jiggled around a little. Zac Δ talk 21:48, 30 July 2011 (UTC)
"Ophiuchus is one of thirteen constellations which occupy the zodiac cross the ecliptic. It has therefore been called the '13th sign of the zodiac'. However, this confuses sign with constellation. The signs of the zodiac are a twelve-fold division of the ecliptic, so that each sign spans 30° of celestial longitude, approximately the distance the Sun travels in a month, and is mathematically determined to create alignment with the the seasonal equinoxes and solstices. [not sure of that clause] Constellations, on the other hand, are unequal in size and are based on the positions of stars. The constellations of the zodiac have only a loose association with the signs of the zodiac, and do not in general coincide with them. The constellation of Aquarius, for example, largely corresponds to the sign of Pisces. Similarly, the constellation of Ophiuchus occupies most of the sign of Sagittarius."
kwami (talk) 22:18, 30 July 2011 (UTC)
Sorry, "Ophiuchus is one of thirteen constellations which occupy the zodiac" won't do. In astronomy, the zodiac is the region in which the sun can appear; it is about 8 degrees above and below the ecliptic. Even if we confine ourselves to traditional constellations (before the 1930 adoption by the IAU of formal boundaries and the invention of new constellations to cover some gaps) there are still a number of constellations through which the ecliptic does not pass, but which are still in the zodiac. Examples are Cetus and Auriga. Jc3s5h (talk) 22:57, 30 July 2011 (UTC)
How's that? I'm trying to get away from value judgements AMAP.
BTW, we should mention Cetus and Auriga at constellations of the zodiac. — kwami (talk) 23:23, 30 July 2011 (UTC)
I would change "confuses sign" with "confuses Western sign" because there are other systems that rely on constellations. I would also change "mathematically determined to create alignment with the the seasonal equinoxes and solstices" to "aligned so the March equinox is on the boundary between the signs Aries and Pisces", which is more precise. Jc3s5h (talk) 23:33, 30 July 2011 (UTC)
I feel that the sentence could not be understood without extensive prior knowledge of the subject. However, because I don't have said extensive prior knowledge, while I do believe it needs to be changed, I don't think I know what to change it to.
(edit conflict) How's this:
"Ophiuchus is one of thirteen constellations which cross the ecliptic. It has therefore been called the '13th sign of the zodiac'. However, this confuses sign with constellation. The signs of the Western zodiac are a twelve-fold division of the ecliptic, so that each sign spans 30° of celestial longitude, approximately the distance the Sun travels in a month, and [in the Western tradition] are aligned with the seasons so that the March equinox falls on the boundary between Aries and Pisces. Constellations, on the other hand, are unequal in size and are based on the positions of stars. The constellations of the zodiac have only a loose association with the signs of the zodiac, and do not in general coincide with them. The constellation of Aquarius, for example, largely corresponds to the sign of Pisces. Similarly, the constellation of Ophiuchus occupies most of the sign of Sagittarius."
kwami (talk) 23:43, 30 July 2011 (UTC)
Actually, Kwamikagami's suggestion is very good. It only needs a slight adjustment to the first sentence - perhaps cutting it into mine. You are getting your facts wrong Jc3s5h. The zodiac is centred on the eclipic and extends 8-9° either side of it because this is the area of celestial latitude in which the Moon and visible also remain as viewed from Earth (that is the case most of the time; on rare occasions Venus can go a little beyond this). So the zodiac covers the belt of space that was of most interest to astronomers historically, because this is where all the visible planetary motion occured. The Sun never moves away from the ecliptic - the ecliptic is the Sun's 'apparent' path. And no constellation which does not cut the ecliptic can properly be called a 'zodiac' constellation - but that is getting too technical and raising points that belong on the zodiac page, not this one. Zac Δ talk 23:45, 30 July 2011 (UTC)
My mistake, Zachariel is correct that the zodiac is the area where the major solar system bodies will usually be found. Of course it could become complicated because different people might have different ideas about which objects are "major". Jc3s5h (talk) 23:51, 30 July 2011 (UTC)
I thought I had written "Moon and visible planets" but see the word planets went missing there ! Anyway, not to worry - just saw the latest suggestion by Kwamikagami based on your steering and see no problem with that. I would give that a thumbs up. (We don't need the word 'western' where it is placed - all zodiac-sign systems use 12 equal divisions of 30°, but it does no damage to include it) Zac Δ talk 23:54, 30 July 2011 (UTC)
We need 'Western' because of the seasonal alignment, though maybe it should be moved. — kwami (talk) 01:38, 31 July 2011 (UTC)
"We need 'Western' because of the seasonal alignment" IMO, if it's left where it now is, as quoted above (parenthetical and all), you're good to go. TREKphiler any time you're ready, Uhura 04:20, 31 July 2011 (UTC)
Okay, adding it in. — kwami (talk) 05:31, 31 July 2011 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── There is a spinout article that covers the details of the problems with Ophiuchus as a zodiac constellation. All we need here is a brief sentence pointing to it.
Jc3s5h pointed out some problems with: "Because of the overlap of Ophiuchus and the zodiacal longitude, Ophiuchus is sometimes mistakenly referred to as the 13th sign of the zodiac"
Changing it like this removes the problems: "Because Ophiuchus is one of 13 constellations which cross the ecliptic, there is a controversy around using Ophiuchus in astrology as the '13th sign of the zodiac'".
This is a neutral worded statement that doesn't take sides in the argument whether its use in astrology is mistaken or not. People can find further details and arguments on that matter in Ophiuchus (astrology), the spinout article that was created for that purpose.
By just putting that there is a controversy we may avoid that editors keep coming back here to add in their side of the argument on that question, just like happened in January. But this is an astronomy article, so it is not the place for that kind of discussion. MakeSense64 (talk) 06:11, 31 July 2011 (UTC)

That's why I removed 'mistaken'. But it's also a matter of weight. Ophiuchus as a sign is fringey even by astrological standards. — kwami (talk) 06:42, 31 July 2011 (UTC)
Ophiuchus as a sign is fringey "only" by astrological standards. As far as the astronomy of the constellation goes there is no controversy at all (it was settled in 1930). So it deserves no more than a passing mention here.
You say there is no real controversy about it. Well, then why does it have an article explaining the controversy, with sources about this controversy? Then why this reverting back and forth here, just like in January, if there is no controversy?
If there was no controversy then we wouldn't even have an astrology section here, just like there is none in Triangulum. Do you agree? MakeSense64 (talk) 07:33, 31 July 2011 (UTC)
No, I don't. You said "there is a controversy around using Ophiuchus in astrology". AFAIK there is not. There are a few astrologers who have promoted this idea, but AFAIK they have mostly been ignored. Most of the "controversy" comes from astronomers. The news orgs that pick up on this every decade or so get it from the astronomical community, and the astronomers I've seen write about this don't seem to know the difference between a constellation and a sign.
And yes, I do think that astrology is considered fringey in astronomical circles. — kwami (talk) 08:20, 31 July 2011 (UTC)
That's a very good point.
Astrology is considered a fringe theory (pseudoscience) from the scientific pov. Most astronomers do not care about astrology.
And as you point out, the astrology of Ophiuchus is a fringe theory within astrology. There are only a few books about it (Walter Berg), and few astrologers use it. If it wasn't for a few mainstream articles, there wouldn't be enough independent sources to warrant a WP article about it. OK?
So what we have is a fringe theory within a fringe theory.
Well, that doesn't warrant a long paragraph in an astronomy article.
It is that simple.
In all the other astronomy articles about constellations from Aries (constellation) to Pisces (constellation) we find about one line about astrology and a link to the astrology page. In Ophiuchus you insist we somehow need a long paragraph to mention a fringe astrology theory? How is that not undue weight? MakeSense64 (talk) 09:01, 31 July 2011 (UTC)
I'd argue it's due here because it's a product of the astronomical rather than astrological community. It's due because of the press coverage it gets, which we're not going to bother covering under astrology because it really isn't astrology. I have a newsletter from the local observatory from I think 1971 saying the same thing: that astrologers have their dates wrong, that there are more than 12 signs, etc., clearly not understanding that a 'sign' isn't a constellation. Sure, if people are looking for Scorpio under Scorpius, or the sign Aries under the constellation Aries, all we need to say is 'wrong field, go here'. But this is due here because the periodic flareup of interest concerns the constellation of Ophiuchus, and this is the article on Ophiuchus. It's not a dab for an astrological topic. — kwami (talk) 11:58, 31 July 2011 (UTC)
As for using the word "Western", a New York Times article saw fit to refer to an astrologer who used that word:

Mr. Brezsny and other astrologers say they have long known that the pairings of constellations and astrological signs don’t match, but that Western astrologers don’t deal with stars — as some other branches of astrology do — but rather the planets and solar system. [Emphasis added]]

As for "controversy", why not just say "confusion"; we can document the confusion. Jc3s5h (talk) 12:02, 31 July 2011 (UTC)

Concerning JHunterJ's latest revision, astronomy articles should use precise wording. Sometimes this makes it impossible to say anything at all about a topic in one short sentence, due to the need to define terms or avoid poorly defined terms. I suggest that "astrological sign" is poorly defined. In Western astrology, the sign as a unit of measure designating a sector of the ecliptic and the sign as an angular space that is significant in making astrological predictions are one and the same. In non-Western astronomy, which might be conducted in non-English language, the measure of the location of the sun is different from the angular space that is considered significant in making predictions. I really don't know how the concepts would translate, but it certainly seems to confuse newspaper reporters. Jc3s5h (talk) 12:29, 31 July 2011 (UTC)

  • Comment from uninvolved editor - I concur that the more scientific wording, which focuses on the fact that there are 13 constellations that cross the elliptic, is best. However, I see a bigger issue: the entire section "Ophiuchus and the zodiac" has no citations in it at all. I suggest that some involved editors add footnotes. It may be fairly easy: the article Ophiuchus (astrology) looks like it might have some citations that could be used. --Noleander (talk) 16:56, 31 July 2011 (UTC)
  • If astrological sign is poorly defined, astrological sign would be the place to better-define it. -- JHunterJ (talk) 18:17, 31 July 2011 (UTC)
No, this article should use well-defined terms, and should not rely upon definitions in other Wikipedia articles, which are unreliable sources. Furthermore, if a term is poorly defined due to differing use in various reliable sources, no amount of text in some other Wikipedia article can fix it. However, the issue is stale since the article has changed since my comment about "astrological sign" being poorly defined. Jc3s5h (talk) 20:40, 31 July 2011 (UTC)
I agree with that sentiment on citations Jc3s5h, and in all honesty don't understand why the content has been changed - as far as I can see there was no logical reason to cut down the sensible explanation that you and Kwami put together, which was much better than what we have now because it actually explained, and gave relevant (and accurate) information. Isn't that what Wikipedia is all about? Is there some kind of word limit on WP pages which means that well considered and well constructed content has to be edited down to a mere strapline that barely raises the point before it concludes it without due explanation?
We have a situation here where three editors, coming at this from different angles, worked together on this talk page to collaboratively create critically analysed content that found agreement, only to have that removed by other editors who didn't bother to read the discussions or at least didn't present arguments here to gain consensus before deleting the content. That's not the way that WP is supposed to work, unless I’ve misunderstood something significant. The proposed content was robust enough to not be considered controversial or in need of citation IMO, but regardless, I had offered to provide citations if it was felt that there was a need for them.
I recommend that the text is reverted back to how it was before JHunterJ's edit of 19:15, July 31, 2011, but I'll place a post on his talk-page and ask if he will explain his reasoning and consider reverting back to where edits were being made on the back of consensus. Cheers, Zac Δ talk 20:05, 1 August 2011 (UTC)
I don't understand why you separate my edit as non-collaborative from the other collaborative edits. All the work on the article is being done collaboratively. Sometimes the collaboration results in fewer bytes instead of more. The shorter text still clearly conveyed the differentiation between the astronomical view and the controversial view. -- JHunterJ (talk) 21:13, 1 August 2011 (UTC)

Hi JhunterJ, thanks for coming to the page and responding to my request for further comment. Just so you understand, I’m not inclined to clash heads with anyone over this and my concern is only that it felt like a very productive step was being taken when editors were raising their views here, and bouncing productively off each other’s criticisms and suggestions to arrive at an explanation that, as far as I can see, was pretty good. It was accurate, it was relatively brief, and yet it gave a reliable and informative account of the confusion that periodically arises, why it arises, and what the well established facts of the matter actually are. This is the sort of content that I believe puts an end to attempts to regurgitate ongoing problems, because it deals with the matter clearly and factually. In addition, the reader is left able to understand, rather than just being told something that isn’t self-explanatory, which leaves the point of confusion lingering.

Sorry to sound critical – I certainly realise you were not the only one doing this – but you seem to have dismissed the process that was being taken to gain consensus when you made such a dramatic cut to content that had been thoughtfully processed, deleting three-quarters of the paragraph whilst making only a one-line statement here after the event.

On reflection, I don’t see any reason to include a link to the Ophiuchus (astrology) page at this point. I think that begs for future trouble and leaves the impression that this is an essentially astrological matter, capable of being decided by the whim of any modern astrologer who wants to redefine the astronomical basis of what the zodiac actually is. I consider this to be a simple and straight-forward clarification of information that pertains to the status of this constellation. And since this constellation-sign status confusion is significant in this way only to this one constellation, it is surely appropriate that on this page it is given as much coverage and background information as necessary to clarify it fully, and so firmly establish what the mainstream view is, as opposed to fringe theories that are based on confusions and misunderstandings.

For that reason I considered the content was perfect in length and details as it was before your edit. It very efficiently covered all the salient points whilst retaining the intelligent tone of the page, and leaving the reader informed enough to understand the point, or able to choose to read more about the zodiac on the zodiac page if they wish.

I would like to propose that we go back to that earlier version, which four editors had stated approval of, and return to the process of asking if anyone considers it inaccurate in any way, so that we ensure that the content is as reliable and informative as it can be, for readers who come here specifically to gain a better understanding of this point. Are you OK with that? Below is how the passage read, with the addition of one or two obviously sensible alterations that you and Jc3s5h subsequently made. If there is anything that you don't feel is reliable or rleevant here, could you please explain? Thanks, Zac Δ talk 23:07, 1 August 2011 (UTC)

Ophiuchus is one of thirteen constellations that cross the ecliptic.[1] It has therefore been called the '13th sign of the zodiac'. However, this confuses sign with constellation. The signs of the zodiac are a twelve-fold division of the ecliptic, so that each sign spans 30° of celestial longitude, approximately the distance the Sun travels in a month, and (in the Western tradition) are aligned with the seasons so that the March equinox falls on the boundary between Aries and Pisces. Constellations, on the other hand, are unequal in size and are based on the positions of the stars. The constellations of the zodiac have only a loose association with the signs of the zodiac, and do not in general coincide with them. In Western astrology the constellation of Aquarius, for example, largely corresponds to the sign of Pisces. Similarly, the constellation of Ophiuchus occupies most of the sign of Sagittarius.


(outdent) This part of your proposed edit is not about Ophiuchus, so not needed here:

The signs of the zodiac are a twelve-fold division of the ecliptic, so that each sign spans 30° of celestial longitude, approximately the distance the Sun travels in a month, and (in the Western tradition) are aligned with the seasons so that the March equinox falls on the boundary between Aries and Pisces. Constellations, on the other hand, are unequal in size and are based on the positions of the stars. The constellations of the zodiac have only a loose association with the signs of the zodiac, and do not in general coincide with them.


The distinction between signs and constellations is explained perfectly well here: Zodiacal_constellation#Zodiacal_constellations
There is no need to repeat the same definitions over and over in every article where it applies, that would defeat the purpose of an encyclopeadia.
Those who don't know what a zodiacal constellation is will click on the hyperlink, which is already given at the end of the previous section. That's what hyperlinks are for. MakeSense64 (talk) 14:46, 2 August 2011 (UTC)

The Zodiacal constellations section of the Zodiac article is not linked within the Ophiuchus and the zodiac section of this article (although it is linked earlier in the article). Thus, a reader is unlikely to click it. Furthermore, that article may be in error, when it states "It is important to distinguish the zodiacal signs from the constellations associated with them, not only because of their drifting apart due to the precession of equinoxes....". Only Western astrological signs are affected by precession; if the description of rāśi in Hindu astrology#Rāśi – the zodiac signs is correct and if it is fair to translate "rāśi as "sign" then this variety of zodiac sign is not affected by precession. Jc3s5h (talk) 15:27, 2 August 2011 (UTC)
MakeSense64 I realise that is your view and that you have restated your view several times. But the fact is that, even after consideration of your view, four editors expressed agreement with the content proposed, before you (without any acknowledgement of this talk-page discussion) made the most dramatic edit of all. You cut the content down to a mere 27 words which totally failed to differentiate mainstream from fringe opinion by saying:
Because Ophiuchus is one of 13 constellations which cross the ecliptic, there is a controversy around using Ophiuchus in astrology as the 13th sign of the zodiac.
When you did this you claimed that you were making the change “per talk” which is not the case at all. “Per talk” usually implies some kind of talk-page agreement, not that the change is being made by the authority of "your talk" alone.
I am more than happy to submit to the consensus of opinion here, if it is collaboratively decided that the content is in need of correction. But that doesn’t seem to be the case, so I will place what has been proposed back into mainspace, with the expectation that if there is a need for amendment, the case will be made here and the content adjusted - according to the usual WP procedure.
I would also like to propose for discussion, that we change the hatline above this section:
from
Main article: Ophiuchus (astrology)
to
Further information: Zodiac
My reasoning is that this is an issue which concerns the definition of the zodiac, rather than being an essentially astrological matter. Does anyone have any thoughts or objections to that? Zac Δ talk 15:59, 2 August 2011 (UTC) Zac Δ talk 16:03, 2 August 2011 (UTC)
  • Comment from uninvolved editor - Before anyone takes MakeSense64's comments here at face value, they may wish to read this thread at AN created yesterday (two days after this discussion began). MakeSense64 is being proposed for a topic ban on astrology articles for reasons such as his edits here. I have no opinion on the content of the article, this is just an information addition for involved editors here. CycloneGU (talk) 16:57, 2 August 2011 (UTC)
  • Comment from uninvolved editor - I'd like to re-open this subject. Wiki articles are meant to be neutral in tone. However, the current wording of this section displays a strong bias in something that is, ultimately, a purely subjective issue. Using words like "confusion" and "mistaken" implies a correct and incorrect viewpoint, while the wording of the segment in general ignores the existence of forms of astrology other than the traditional Western zodiac. Given that astrology is a non-scientific system, a superstition, the existence of "mainstream" and "fringe" forms is irrelevant. The so-called "fringe" belief cannot be considered a mistake. Rather it must be considered a separate system, a completely different Zodiac from the traditional twelve-constellation Western system. I propose the following revised text.

Ophiuchus is one of thirteen constellations that cross the ecliptic.[2] It is thus used by some modern astrologers as a '13th sign of the zodiac'. However, it is not included in conventional (Western tradition) astrology, under which the signs of the zodiac are a twelve-fold division of the ecliptic, such that each sign spans 30° of celestial longitude (approximately the distance the Sun travels in a month), and aligned with the seasons so that the March equinox falls on the boundary between Aries and Pisces. Under the traditional system, constellations have only a loose association with their respective signs, and do not in general coincide with them. Interpretations which include Ophiuchus favour a more strict adherence to the positions of the constellations each sign represents.

This should sufficiently avoid taking a side in the issue, while still representing enough relevant information to provide proper clarification. I believe it has an added benefit of being more concise than the current text, which, quite frankly, meanders for the sake of upholding a single viewpoint. Kefke Wren (talk) 16:35, 2 December 2013 (UTC)

Yes, it is a zodiac[edit]

Thought I should share this to proove that it is indeed a zodiac. http://ophiuchus.tribe.net/thread/1697fb3a-34e6-4a24-ba14-1eda9f1a5042 — Preceding unsigned comment added by 209.183.32.49 (talk) 06:19, 16 March 2012 (UTC)

symbol[edit]

Zodiacal status aside, should we not list its symbol (a U with a tilde in it) as we do with other celestial bodies? — Preceding unsigned comment added by 71.251.165.65 (talk) 20:37, 21 April 2012 (UTC)

I would list the symbol if and only if a reliable source can be found for the symbol, and the reliable source shows the symbol is, or was, in widespread use. Jc3s5h (talk) 22:57, 21 April 2012 (UTC)
That was Berg's 1995 proposal for astrology, and so would only be relevant to the extent that Berg is. — kwami (talk) 01:04, 22 April 2012 (UTC)

Orphaned references in Ophiuchus[edit]

I check pages listed in Category:Pages with incorrect ref formatting to try to fix reference errors. One of the things I do is look for content for orphaned references in wikilinked articles. I have found content for some of Ophiuchus's orphans, the problem is that I found more than one version. I can't determine which (if any) is correct for this article, so I am asking for a sentient editor to look it over and copy the correct ref content into this article.

Reference named "objects":

  • From Lyra: Wilkins, Jamie; Dunn, Robert (2006). 300 Astronomical Objects: A Visual Reference to the Universe. Buffalo, New York: Firefly Books. ISBN 978-1-55407-175-3. 
  • From Capricornus: Wilkins, Jamie; Dunn, Robert (2006). 300 Astronomical Objects: A Visual Reference to the Universe (1st ed.). Buffalo, New York: Firefly Books. ISBN 978-1-55407-175-3. 

I apologize if any of the above are effectively identical; I am just a simple computer program, so I can't determine whether minor differences are significant or not. AnomieBOT 05:00, 9 May 2012 (UTC)

Fixed Looks like someone forgot the "name=" attribute [2]. --Enric Naval (talk) 10:15, 9 May 2012 (UTC)

Laocoon, etc.[edit]

Do any of you see a connection with this? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laoco%C3%B6n_and_His_Sons

Seems reasonable to me! Regards, 96.19.147.40 (talk) 01:08, 19 April 2013 (UTC)Ronald L. Hughes

Style[edit]

I have noticed the following style aspects of this article:

  • It uses American English (notice the spelling of the word "honor").
  • The first edit to include a date was on October 10, 2004, and used the format Month, dd, yyyy.
  • There is no consistent style for citations, and as far as I can tell, there never was a consistent style.

I hope to clean up the style at some point in the not to distant future. Jc3s5h (talk) 17:56, 2 October 2013 (UTC)

  1. ^ Lee T. Shapiro, "Constellations in the zodiac", in The Space Place (NASA, last updated 22 July 2011).
  2. ^ Lee T. Shapiro, "Constellations in the zodiac", in The Space Place (NASA, last updated 22 July 2011).