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STARS AND BEYOND
Lesson 5 - Page 2

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This sky calendar and the Zodiac constellations we identify today were first used by Babylonian astronomers about 2500 years ago. Babylonia was a Middle Eastern culture that is well-known for its discoveries in astronomy and other sciences. The Babylonians used the Zodiac constellations to tell when spring was coming. This allowed them to tell when it was time to plant crops and to prepare for changes in the weather.

The Babylonians recognized twelve Zodiac constellations. They were adopted by later cultures, and have become associated with myths and stories. For example, the Zodiac constellation Sagittarius form the pattern of a centaur (a half-man, half-horse creature) named Chiron, who is shooting an arrow. According to Greek mythology, Chiron was one of Herculesí teachers. Hercules shot Chiron with a poison arrow by mistake. Hercules made Chiron into a constellation to relieve his suffering.



The Constellations of the Zodiac

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