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Dictionary of Astrological and Astronomical Terms

Compiled by Julene Packer-Louis, Evan Bortnick, and Jackie Goldstein

Copyright 2000-2020 OCA, Inc. All rights reserved. No portion of the dictionary may be reproduced in any form without written permission.



Because the plane of the zodiac is slanted at 23 and a half degrees to the plane of the Earth's equator, we see some astrological signs from a slanted perspective (this is called the obliquity of the ecliptic).

At certain latitudes, this causes the signs to take a longer or shorter time to rise over the Ascendant. Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio and Sagittarius are signs of long ascension and Capricorn, Aquarius, Pisces, Aries Taurus and Gemini are signs of short ascension. This holds true only for the Northern Hemisphere and the reverse is true for the Southern Hemisphere.

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