Which constellation does our Sun belong to?
The Sun does not belong to any constellation. This is because our Earth goes around the Sun. As a result, the Sun moves in the sky relative to the other stars. So, the Sun appears to move through the constellations of the zodiac, which is why you hear that the Sun is in a particular zodiac constellation in a particular month. For example, in September, the Sun is in the constellation of Virgo. In October, it will go to the constellation of Libra, and so on.
You can easily understand this if you draw the picture of the Sun with the Earth orbiting the Sun. Now all the other stars are essentially at infinite distance (the nearest star is at 4.3 light years which is much farther away from the 8 light minutes at which the Sun is located). Now, you can see the relative position of the Sun with respect to the stars and see how it changes as the Earth goes around the Sun.
Added by Karen: Also note that the constellations do not represent physical volumes in our galaxy, but rather are used to divide the sky as seen from Earth into different areas. Stars which are in the same constellation are usually not physically associated at all, some of them are much closer than others, but just happen to lie along the same line of sight.
Get More 'Curious?' with Our New PODCAST:
- Podcast? Subscribe? Tell me about the Ask an Astronomer Podcast
- Subscribe to our Podcast | Listen to our current Episode
- Cool! But I can't now. Send me a quick reminder now for later.
How to ask a question:
If you have a follow-up question concerning the above subject, submit it here. If you have a question about another area of astronomy, find the topic you're interested in from the archive on our site menu, or go here for help.
This page has been accessed 44925 times since December 2, 2002.
Last modified: December 16, 2002 1:44:42 PM
Ask an Astronomer is hosted by the Astronomy Department at Cornell University and is produced with PHP and MySQL.
Warning: Your browser is misbehaving! This page might look ugly. (Details)