The Four Royal Galaxies

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James Strom
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Joined: Wed Jul 25, 2012 5:28 am

The Four Royal Galaxies

Post by James Strom » Fri Oct 31, 2014 9:17 am


The four royal stars, Aldebaran, Regulus, Antares, and Fomalhaut, lie along the ecliptic in the fixed signs of the zodaic. They form a cross that represents the four corners of the world. Associated with these are the four directions of east, south, west, and north and also spring, summer, autumn, and winter among many other things.

What if there were also galaxies that were of royal significance? While trying to find the perfect starting point for ecliptic longitude I discovered that the four most important galaxies in the sky coincidentally also made beautiful symmetrical divisions of the zodiac.

When astrologers attempt to calculate the beginning of an age, such as the Age of Aquarius, they run into the problem of not knowing precisely where one sign ends and another begins. The constellations of the zodiac provide a useful guide, but not an exact one. What is needed is a origin point for ecliptic longitude that will seperate the signs of the zodiac neatly.

But due to the precession of the equinoxes the starting position of ecliptic longitude is ever changing; about one degree every 72 years. Perhaps something called sidereal longitude can be used. It could use the same circle as the ecliptic but be based on the fixed background stars and thus wouldn't change with precession. A sky map based on this would not need to be updated every 50 years or so. Except for the slow movement of the stars against the stellar background, called proper motion, it would be permanent. All that's needed is to know where to put the zero degree marker.

Where should the stating point for sidereal longitude be placed? We certainly would like it if it were somewhere that if the 360 degrees of the circle were divided into 30 degree sectors that it would closely approximate the areas covered by the signs of the zodiac, like this (see below):
zodiaccolor.jpg (103.5 KiB) Viewed 982 times
The map shown is based on a starting point with a sector longitude of about 27.5 degrees. Sector longitude is ecliptic longitude measured after the beginning of a 30 degree sector. Thus, 29, 59, and 89 degrees ecliptic longitude will all have a sector longitude of 29.

As can be seen, a sector longitude of about 26 to 30 degrees is ideal. As it is, 27.1 degrees would be best if we use the average of the sector longitudes of the boundaries of the constellations of the zodiac as given by the International Astronomical Union.

So all we need is to pick some star and use its ecliptic longitude as the zero point for a sidereal system. But which one? One of the four royal stars might seem ideal. Here are their ecliptic latitudes and longitudes, followed by their sector longitude.

Fomalhaut -21.13/ 333.86/ 33.86
Aldebaran -5.47/ 69.79/ 39.79
Regulus 0.47/ 149.83/ 29.83
Antares -4.57/ 249.76/ 39.76

Clearly, Regulus sticks out. It not only has a good sector longitude but is nearly on the ecliptic plane itself! In addition, it is considered the 'king' of the royal stars. And even better, it separates the zodiac between the signs associated with the Moon and the Sun. As we all know, the seven planets that traditionally go with the signs start here on either side. I very much doubt that this is a coincidence. The ancients must have used Regulus as the beginning and end of the zodiac. The four royal stars were paired with the seasons and if we look at which years these conjuncted the Sun during an equinox or solstice we can maybe figure out when they first started using this system.

Fomalhaut Winter: BC 2621.
Aldebaran Spring: BC 3053.
Regulus Summer: BC 2326.
Antares Autumn: BC 3052.

Note how Antares and Aldebaran had their equinoctal events within about a year. This must have impressed the ancient astrologers with the symmetry of the universe, as they knew it then.

So it all settled, right? Well, maybe not. We now know that the stars move against the background stars, especially the close, bright ones, such as Regulus. This makes for the necessity of altering the map every few centuries or so. Not so good! Are there some stellar objects without such a high proper motion?

Indeed there is. Galaxies are so far away that their motion against the background is imperceptible, even over great spans of time. Placing their exact location is not difficult as they usually have a central black hole. Perhaps we can use one of them.

But which one? There are tens of billions of galaxies out there. But only a few can claim to be the 'center' of our nearby universe.

The center of the largest gravitationally bound structure in the universe that we belong to, the Virgo Supercluster, is Messier 87, or the Virgo A galaxy. Only 14.27 degrees above the ecliptic, it seems like a good choice. It has a sector longitude of 32.12 degrees, however. But it has good symbolic significence. If we were to start the Ages of Mankind there they would begin with the Age of Leo around 11,400 BC. This would followed by the Ages of Cancer, Gemini, Taurus, and Aries. These signs are associated with gold, silver, quicksilver, copper, and iron, respectively. Thus we could have a Golden, Silver, Bronze, and Iron Age, in that order. It conjuncted the Sun on the autumnal equinox as recently as 1847 AD.
1024px-Messier_87_Hubble_WikiSky.jpg (51.53 KiB) Viewed 982 times
Another one to consider is Messier 81, or Bode's galaxy. It can be thought of as the center of the cluster that includes our local group. It has a very high latitude of 51.58, but a good sector longitude of 29.49. The signs would begin at Cancer. The conjunction of the Sun with this galaxy on the summer solstice was around 123 BC.
1280px-Messier_81_HST.jpg (141.33 KiB) Viewed 982 times
The largest galaxy in our local group is Messier 31, or the Andromeda galaxy. While it has a high latitude of 33.35 degrees, it has a nearly ideal sector longitude of 27.84 degrees. On top of that, the signs would begin, in all places, at Aries! It was in conjunction with the Sun at the spring equinox about 2 BC. This is nearly a perfect.
1280px-Andromeda_Galaxy_(with_h-alpha).jpg (386.7 KiB) Viewed 982 times
Our very own galaxy, the Milky Way, has in its core a giant black hole called Sagittarius A. It is near to the ecliptic plane at -5.61 degrees. And its sector longitude is very close to the ideal one, of 27.1 degrees, at 26.85. This is so good that many others, besides me, have suggested it for the starting point of sidereal longitude. It will conjunct the Sun on the winter solstice around 2225 AD. Could this be the beginning of the Age of Aquarius?
1024px-Milky_way_2_md.jpg (277.81 KiB) Viewed 982 times
All of these four galaxies seem to be in very good positions in the sky, just like the four royal stars. If their longitudes are drawn on a map like the one above it can be seen that they neatly divide the zodiac into the signs associated with the Sun and Moon, the terrestial planets (Mercury, Venus, and Mars), and the Gas Giants (Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune).
zodiacgalactictext.jpg (89.55 KiB) Viewed 982 times
Here, then, are the Four Royal Galaxies.

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Joined: Fri Dec 26, 2014 12:33 am

Re: The Four Royal Galaxies

Post by Phillip » Wed Jan 28, 2015 4:10 pm

amazing collection of screen shot and equally amazing information.

James Strom
Posts: 82
Joined: Wed Jul 25, 2012 5:28 am

Re: The Four Royal Galaxies

Post by James Strom » Sun Feb 01, 2015 6:35 am

Thank you very much. It's the baseline for a broader "resetting" of the zodiac into more modern terms. More on that soon.

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Re: The Four Royal Galaxies

Post by admin » Sun Feb 01, 2015 12:42 pm

Brilliant and exciting James ! Will of course have to study it more, as there is so much information therein, and such superb pics.

Thank you for posting it on this forum.

"There are more things...likely to frighten us than there are to crush us; we suffer more often in imagination than in reality." Seneca

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