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We've talked about constellations; groups of stars in the night sky that we assign names to. But there are a certain group of special constellations called The Zodiac that Sabrina is going to chat about. Gemini, Sagittarius, Scorpio? You've heard of them and now is your chance to get to know them a little more.

///Standards Used in This Video///
5-ESS1-2. Represent data in graphical displays to reveal patterns of daily changes in length and direction of shadows, day and night, and the seasonal appearance of some stars in the night sky. [Clarification Statement: Examples of patterns could include the position and motion of Earth with respect to the sun and selected stars that are visible only in particular months.] [Assessment Boundary: Assessment does not include causes of seasons.]

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Producer & Editor: Nicholas Jenkins
Cinematographer & Director: Michael Aranda
Host: Sabrina Cruz
Script Supervisor: Mickie Halpern
Writer: Kay Boatner
Executive Producers: John & Hank Green
Consultant: Shelby Alinsky
Script Editor: Blake de Pastino

Thought Cafe Team:
Stephanie Bailis
Cody Brown
Suzanna Brusikiewicz
Jonathan Corbiere
Nick Counter
Kelsey Heinrichs
Jack Kenedy
Corey MacDonald
Tyler Sammy
Nikkie Stinchcombe
James Tuer
Adam Winnik
People have been studying the skies for centuries, and who can blame them? It is beautiful up there. On any given clear night there are probably more than two thousand stars that you can see; and that’s with out a telescope. Way before telescopes were even invented ancient astronomers tracked the movement of objects in the sky and over time one group of objects ended up getting a lot of attention. I'm talking about the thirteen constellations that make up something called the Zodiac. So, what's the Zodiac and which constellations are part of it?

[Text: Big Question]

We'll get to that in a just a sec, but first, do you remember what a constellations is? Sure you do! A constellation is a cluster of stars in the sky that are grouped together in a particular pattern and have been given a name.

We've talked about a few famous constellations before like Draco, Hercules, Pegasus, Ursa Major and Crux. But none of these constellations are part of the Zodiac. You might recognize some of the constellations that are in the zodiac though. Do the names Gemini, Leo, or Sagittarius sound familiar? They're among the thirteen Zodiac constellations and they actually form a kind of pattern in the sky.

This pattern makes it easier for observers to know where to find each constellation through out the year. So, what are all of the constellations in the Zodiac and what pattern do they form? Lets take a look.

[text: Investigation]

You know this guy, hi Earth. At the beginning of the year, January, the constellation of Sagittarius is highly visible to us on earth. The Greeks called Sagittarius "the archer" because it looked like well a guy shooting a bow and arrow. Capricornus is also highly visible in January toward the end of the month. It's sometimes called "the sea goat" since it happens to have the head of a goat and the tail of a fish. Which is not something you see every day.

Next up in February is Aquarius or "the water bearer." A group of ancient of people called the Babylonians thought that this group of starts looked like an old man pouring water from a pitcher. Moving on to March, this is Pisces, or "the fishes." Pisces represents Venus, a Roman goddess who is said to have turned into a fish and jumped into a river to escape an evil monster.

Ares is up in April in Greek mythology Ares is a ram with wings. The constellation of Taurus, visible in May looks like a bull. It's named for the Roman god Jupiter who could supposedly turn himself into a bull when he swam. June's prominent constellation Gemini is sometimes called "the twins" because it reminded the ancient Greeks of the twin sons of Zeus. Cancer, which we can see pretty well in July, is called "the crab" because that's what it remained some folks of.

August’s constellation is called Leo and it looks like a ferocious lion. Seen in September, Virgo is called "the maiden" since it looks like a maiden because it looks like a lady holding grain which symbolizes the harvest to the Greeks and the Romans. This constellation of Libra appears in October when days and nights are roughly equal and is considered a symbol of balance.

I bet you can guess what the Scorpius is named for, yep it looks like a scorpion. Finishing off the year in late November is Ophiuchus, which was once called serpentarius because it looked like a man holding a serpent or a snake. Hey better him than me.

Alright, now that you've met all of the constellations of the Zodiac, let's light 'em up and see if you can spot a pattern... Looks like a circle to me. And hears a fun fact, Zodiac loosely translates to circle of animals or circle of life in Greek.

[text: Conclusion]

So the zodiac isn't just a random bunch of stars. It's a group of constellations that form a circular pattern in the night sky, and now you know which constellations are part of this pattern. And that people have been observing these constellations for centuries. The Zodiac has helped astronomers figure out how other objects travel in space. Objects like the sun and even our own planet. But you can look forward to learning more on that in the next episode.