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Fixed Stars – as above, so below By M. Imran

Starry sky has always fascinated humans for millennia. The relics and remains of the antiquity are evident of the significance of sky. Modern research works unveil that many ancient beliefs were primarily outcome of star lore. Later the computation and calculation of the planets, eclipses, arrival of new years, and planetary phenomena for the rituals and festivals resulted in the proper study of astrology. But this is just a thesis, and nobody knows exactly when the fascination and reverence for sky and stars turned into astrology. However, it is widely accepted that early stage of astrological practice was hinged upon constellations, and not sign based, for, heavenly constellations as well as fixed stars in these mansions are observable even with a naked eye. 

Fixed Stars in Surya Siddhanta

The oldest Indian source of constellations and stars is Surya Siddhanta. It is not easy to trace the exact date of creation of this immortal astronomical work, as it had been reproduced and updated over hundreds of years. The first English translation of Ebenezer Burgess and Pandit Bapu Deva in 1858 is based on the manuscript of 6th century AD.

Surya Siddhanta accounts 28 heavenly mansions or nakshtras (including Abhijit).  Vedas and other sacred hymns also ascribe 28 nakshtaras. Apart from Surya Siddhanta, other Indian astronomical treatises viz.; Siddhanata Ciromani, Graha Laghava and Cakalya Samhita also provide list of nakshatras and their position in heaven. Their names, celestial longitudes and attributes are familiar to all. They are as follows. Ashvini, Bharani, Krittika, Rohini, Mrigasira, Ardra, Punarvasu, Pushya, Ashlesha, Magha, P. Phalguni, U. Phalguni, Hasta, Chitra, Swati, Vishakha, Anuradha, Jyeshtha, Moola, P. Ashadha, U. Ashadha, Abhijit, Sravana, Dhanistha, Satabhishaj, P. Bhadrapada, U. Bhadrapada and Revati.  Besides these nakshatras, one often comes across well known Polar Star with the title of Dharu Tara or Dhruva in religious and literary epics.

Contrary to the uniform distribution of asterisms on the belt of Ecliptic, Surya Siddhanta, like other astronomical discourses, assumes the whole visible spherical heaven. So, one should not confuse while perusing Surya Siddhanta that yields apparent longitudes of Ashvini nakshatra from 0o to 8o, Bharani from 8o to 20o, Krittika from 20o to 37o and so on. What one generally encounters in Vedic Astrology is the uniform distribution of constellations (nakshatra) projected upon the ring of Ecliptic for the purpose of forecast.

Surya Siddhanta describes the Yoga Tara (Junction or Prime Fixed Star) to recognize constellations (nakshatras). The problem with the word “constellation” is its dual connotation. It not only refers “part of sky formed by imaginary lines through connection of stars”, but it also implies “cluster or stellium of stars”. Sanskrit equivalent term nakshatra has same dual meaning in usage.

Surya Siddhanta mentions few noted Stars (Yoga Taras) in the Chapter VIII, “On the Conjunction of Planets with the Stars”. In verse number 10-12 and 20-21 of Chapter VIII, Surya Siddhanat specifically names following stars.

1) Agastya (Canopus)

2) Mrigavyadha (Sirius)

3) Agni (Beta Taurus or El Nath)

4) Brahmahridaya (Capella)

5) Prajapati (Orion Stars)

6) Apamvasta (Spica)

7) Apa (Delta Virginis or Auva)

However, the cryptic language of Surya Siddhanta and available English translation highlight some differences in the position of the mentioned Fixed Stars. It should keep in mind that in earlier times, Fixed Stars were computed with respect to Poles of Ecliptic. But later, Fixed Stars calculation criterion shifted to the basis of Poles of Equator.

Yoga Tara (Indian Names)

Star (Western Names)

Polar Long.

Polar Lat.

Long.

Lat.

Actual Long.

Actual Lat.

Agastya

Canopus

90-00

80 S

90-00

80-00 S

85-04

75-50 S

Mrgavyadha

Sirius

80-00

40 S

76-23

39-52 S

84-07

39-32 S

Agni

b Tauri

52-00

08 N

54-05

07-44 N

62-32

05-22 N

Brahmahrdaya

Capella

52-00

30 N

60-29

28-53 N

61-50

22-52 N

Prajapati

a Aurigae

57-00

38 N

67-11

36-49 N

69-54

30-49 N

Apamvasta

z Virginis

180

03 N

178-48

02-45 N

178-12

01-45 N

Apas

d Virginis

180

09 N

176-23

08-15 N

171-28

08-38 N

This table is extracted from E. Burgess’ translation and commentary of Surya Siddhanta that was published in the Journal of the American Oriental Society, Volume 6.

Apart from mentioned above Yoga Taras; Surya Siddhanta marks other Fixed Stars just by location in north, east or west of nakshatras, and not exclusively by names. Unfortunately, there is no Indian astrological discourse that provides the effect of Fixed Stars in these nakshatras, or result of their rise of set for natal or mundane forecast. This is indeed very strange phenomenon.

Indian Muteness about Effect of Fixed Stars

A surprising element of Indian astrological tradition is the absence of the Fixed Stars spreading over entire Fixed Heaven, despite the fact that this very Fixed Heaven is the basis of Nirayana Bhachakra (sidereal zodiac). Indian astrological literature has a long standing practice of delineating heavenly constellations and planets in them. From Bhrigu to Parashara, and from Varahamihra to Mahadev Pathaka; all authorities maintained the effect of 27 fixed constellations. But none of them pin pointed the effect of a single Fixed Star, as did by their Greeks, Arabs, Persians and Europeans counterparts. Even some of the classical jyotisha titles that specifically deal with constellations (nakshatra) do not provide an iota of information about the Fixed Stars that rise, culminate or set in these nakshatra. Whatever one finds, is in the perspective of nakshatra (constellations) on the belt of Ecliptic. For instance, Varahamihira narrates: “When Saturn, Mars or Ketu split the wain of Rohini, why I need say that a sea of misfortune and destruction befall upon the world”. And there are lots of other places in Samhitas and Shastras where nakshatras (asterisms) are mentioned for predictive aphorisms. Jyotish classics refer nakshatra that are equidistance constellation, over the belt of ecliptic, and not the irregular constellations, spreading over entire heaven and encompassing hundreds of thousands of Fixed Stars.

In Jyotish, one of the possible causes of abstaining from Fixed Stars for delineation, is the fact that most of the Fixed Stars do not lie on Ecliptic belt which is the basis of Zodiac. Even in readymade handy tables, the longitudes corresponding to a Fixed Star does not show its real location in that place. It is a projected ecliptic longitude (also referred as Projected Ecliptical Degrees or PED).

An Uncommon Reality about Indian Astronomy

One may object or argue that Indian school of astrology is purely theoretical and ancient Indians never bothered to observe the heaven from eye or instruments. But an uncommon fact is that the names of Indian lunar months are surprisingly coincided with the real observation of the constellation whom these months are named after. To wit, take nakshatra Ashvini (β Arietis) that lies in the sign of Aries. One can only observe Ashvini constellation in the sky from earth in or around the lunar month of Aswayuja (also pronounce as Aswaj and sometimes Ashwin) that corresponds to September-October. That is, in the moonlit night of Aswayuja, the opposite part of zodiacal portion of Ashvini nakshatra appears on heaven and thus visible. In rest of the months, one cannot practically find Ashvini nakshatra (β Arietis) on sky at the top of his head. In a similar fashion, observation of Makha nakshatra (r Leonis) is possible in the moonlit night of lunar month of Magha (January-February), and the name of the month of Magha (or Mah) is on account of nakshatra Makha (r Leonis). Same is true for all Indian lunar months, including; Chaitra, Vaishakha, Jyestha, Ashadha, Shravana, Bhadrapada, Ashwayuja, Kartik, Margashira, Pausha, Maha, Phalguna. This concludes that ancient Indians were well aware of the observation of constellations, but they intentionally confined themselves to the 27 or 28 constellations lying on the Sidereal zodiac.

Indian Lunar Months and Corresponding Observable Constellations

Nakshatra

Lunar Month

Sidereal Longitude of Nakshatra

Chitra

Chaitra (Cheet)

23:20 Vir to 06:40 Lib

Visakha

Vaishakha (Besakha)

20:00 Lib to 03:20 Sco

Jyestha

Jyestha

16:40 Sco to 30:00 Sco

(Purva and Uttara)

Aahadha

Ashadha

13:20 Sag to 26:40 Sag

26:40 Sag to 10:00 Cap

Sravana

Sravana (Saavan)

10:00 Cap to 23:20 Cap

(Purva and Uttra)

 Bhaadrapada

Bhadrapada (Bhadun)

20:00 Aqu to 03:20 Pis

03:20 Pis to 16:40 Pis

Asvini

Aswayuja (Ashwin)

00:00 Ari to 13:20 Ari

Krittika

Kartika (Katik)

26:40 Ari to 10:00 Tau

Mrugasira

Margashira

23:30 Tau to 06:40 Gem

Pushyami

Pausa (Pushyam)

03:20 Can to 16:40 Can

Makha

Magha (Mah)

00:00 Leo to 13:20 Leo

(Purva and Uttara)

 Phalguni

Phalguna (Phaguna or Poh)

13:20 Leo to 26:40 Leo

26:40 Leo to 10:00 Vir

Fixed Stars in Western and Mid-Eastern Discourses

Fixed Stars’ (as generally known today) is a concept, mainly developed by ancient Babylonians and Egyptians and later adopted by Greeks and Arabs. The expression “Fixed Stars” was evolved to distinguish them from other 7 planets which were once called “Wandering Stars”. Even Greeks used to call the planets “Asters Planetae” i.e. wandering stars, or what that move in heaven. Latin world borrowed the same term from Geeks. Present day English term of Fixed Stars is probably derived from the Latin word Stellae Fixae. In Arabic and Persian, the word for Fixed Star is Thaabit or Saabit (plural: Thawabit or Sawabit) which is again exactly means Fixed. While planets are called Kawakib (singular: Kaukab) or Najoom (singular: Najm).

Claudius Ptolemy – the most quoted authority for last two thousand years – listed 1022 Fixed Stars in his outstanding astronomical canon “Almagest” (Al-Majisti in Arabic, or Mathematike Syntaxis in Greek). Almagest, like Surya Siddhanta, is a compilation of mathematical and astronomical techniques. There is no mention of effect of Fixed Stars for natal or mundane predictions. Ptolemy accounted the attributes of select Fixed Stars in Section-9 of Book-I of his widely referred work “Tetrabiblos” or “Kitab al Arba’a i.e. The Quadripartite”. Ptolemy is very succinct in style and orderly in approach (just like Maharishi Jaimini). For example, he briefly writes: “The stars in the head of Aries, then, have an effect like the power of Mars and Saturn, mingled; those in the mouth like Mercury’s power and moderately like Saturn’s; those in the hind foot like that of Mars, and those in the tail like that of Venus”. Thus, a person having understanding of the constellational location of Fixed Stars, and meaning of referred planets could only imbibe the Tetrabiblos. On account of succinct style and rich information, Tetrabiblos has been interpreted and explained for centuries. Even today, this work of Ptolemy is considered the Bible of Astrology in western world. Centiloquy or 100 Aphorisms of Ptolemy, a supplement of Tetrabiblos, has a very unique saying. Aphorism XXXVI maintains: “In the foundation of cities, consider the Fixed Stars which may seem to contribute thereto; but in the erection of buildings, observe the planets.”

After Ptolemy, another genius figure appeared with a highly valuable work “The Treatise on the Bright Fixed Stars”. However, the dust of time faded the name of this great astrologer of 4th century AD. Today, the world knows him by the name of Anonymous of 379. He not only mentioned how to work out with the culminating degrees of Fixed Stars, but also taught how the parallel rising and setting of Fixed Stars with other planets and four cardinal points of horoscope affect native’s life. Bernadette Brady has attempted to revive the methodology of Anonymous of 379 in his book on Fixed Stars.

The Book of Aristotle”, a classical astrological treatise heavily relying on the lost work of Rhetorius, is now attributed to Masha’allah ibn-e-Athari (740 – 815 AD). This book also provides a rich amount of application and effect of Fixed Stars. In Chapter-III under

section “On the amount of prosperity and luckiness”, author writes: “A peculiar quality of the Fixed Stars, and their arrangement and position in the eastern degree (i.e. ascendant) or in the Midheaven or the seventh, with the Sun, Moon, principally reveal the amount of happiness and heaping of prosperity. For, whenever the planetary stars happened to be found corrupted and falling under the nativity, while at least any of the fixed ones would be lingering (occupying) in some one of the aforesaid places, they furnish him who is being born with the highest dignity, beyond what any of his relatives would be able to estimate.” Following this introduction, The Book of Aristotle narrates the result of all important Fixed Stars in nativity, and also considers the sect (diurnal or nocturnal nature) of planets whose characteristics are ascribed to the Fixed Stars.

Abdur Rehman Al Sufi (903 – 986 AD) also known in medieval Europe as Azophi brought out an outstanding work on Fixed Stars, called “Kitab Suwar al Kawakib” (Book of Fixed Stars). Sufi not only corrected the longitudes of Ptolemy’s list of Fixed Stars (due to precession) but also provided a fair amount of physical conditions and esoteric meanings of the Fixed Stars with illustrations. Al Beruni (973 – 1050 AD) another noted authority on astronomy and astrology, briefly discussed Fixed Stars in “The Book of Instructions in the Elements of the Art of Astrology” and in “Qanun al Masudi”.

Famed English astrologer William Lilly assumed Fixed Stars a great tool of interpreting natal charts and directions. In the Chapter 52 of the Christian Astrology Book-III, Lilly unambiguously describes: “[Observe] how neer to any cusps of the houses, or to the degrees of any of the Planets, the Fixed Starres of the first or second Magnitude, of which the Astrologians doe make use of generally are, and herein of those remarkable ones, that have small Latitude from the Ecliptick. Consider also the nature of those Fixed Starres, whether they are of the same condition with the Planet they are neer unto, yea or no; for if of the same condition or influence, they add vigour to the Significator, or point of heaven where they are so posited.”

In “The Sixth House” of very Book-III of Christian Astrology, he writes: “Fixed Starres of the nature of Saturn joyned with the Lights (i.e. Sun or Moon) makes lean and infirme people”. In the next chapter on “What manner of Wife or Wives the Native shall have, if Faire or Deformed”, Lilly adds: “Signes of a good Wife: Kingly Fixed Starres of the first magnitude, neer the cusp of the 7th, if the cusp thereof be also fortunate, these testimonies argue a rich and good dispositioned Wife.”

Like some of his predecessors, Lilly also considers the significance of Fixed Stars in direction. In later part of Christian Astrology Book-III, he maintains, “The ascendant is also directed unto the Fixed Starres, and when it is so directed, hath signification either of Felicity or Adversity, according to the nature of the Fixed Starre; but it then works most forcibly, when ever it happens, if at the same time the Significator comes to the body of a Promittor or Planet of the same influence with the fixed Star.”

Vivian Robson (1890 – 1942 AD) a respected name of twentieth century astrology, revived some of the forgotten aspects of Fixed Stars usage in nativity. In Chapter IV of his title “The Fixed Stars and Constellations in Astrology”, he narrates:  “The influence of the fixed stars differs from that of the planets in being much more dramatic, sudden and violent. As a rule, planetary effects are gradual and operate comparatively slowly, one might almost say softly, whereas the stars appear to exercise most of their influence in sudden, hard, vehement bursts, producing tremendous effects for short periods, and, after raising the natives to a great height, dropping them suddenly and bringing a series of dramatic and unexpected disasters. In other words the fixed stars may elevate from poverty to the extreme height of fortune or vice versa, whereas the planets do not do so. It may be taken as a fairly well-established rule that the stars do not operate alone, except perhaps in those cases where they are situated on angles, and that their chief effect is transmitted by the planets. They seem to form an underlying basis upon which the horoscope is built, and if a planet falls upon a star its effect is greatly magnified, giving it a prominence in the life that is quite unwarranted by its mere position and aspects in the map. Cases are known to all astrologers in which a certain planet in a horoscope seems to be emphasized for no apparent reason, so that it acts drastically throughout the life, and in a case such as this there is usually a fixed star in operation in the background through the planet concerned. The extent and magnitude of the effects brought about by the stars depend upon several factors, namely, (a) apparent size, (b) celestial position, (c) nature of planet through which they operate, and (d) general nature of the horoscope.”

In recent decades, two female astrologers contributed a great deal of efforts in the difficult field of Fixed Stars. The first one is Australian born British astrologer Bernadette Brady, who researched extensively on Fixed Stars. Her famous work “Brady’s Book of Fixed Stars” has earned a good applaud and in print since 1998. She claims reintroducing the concept of Fixed Star’s rising and setting parallel to radical planet, and named this connection “Paran”.

American astrologer Diana Rosenberg is also known for researching the Fixed Stars and rephrasing their impact on natal and mundane charts. Her detailed interview published in Saptarishis Astrology volume VIII.

Number of Constellations and Fixed Stars

With the passage of time, different authorities have been added newly discovered constellations and fixed stars in the stars catalogue. Nearly two thousands year ago, Ptolemy listed 48 constellations. Today the total number of constellations has reached to 88, yes, 88 according to the International Astronomical Union (IAU). And it may increase in future! The progressively changing number of constellations might boggle a Jyotish student how the number of constellation becomes 88?

The reason behind this apparent diversion is the area of heaven (or in simple words, sky) for astrological consideration. In reality, the sky as seen from Earth is a spherical vacuum. And there is a huge area, apart from Ecliptic belt. Keep in mind the belt of Ecliptic of 360 degree has a width of around 16 degree on which 12 zodiacal signs and 27 (or 28) zodiacal constellations (nakshtras) are placed. All the 7 planets move in a plane more or less parallel to Ecliptic. Whereas, Fixed Stars are scattered over entire visible heaven in no specific order or dimension. 

Babylonians, Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, Arabs and Persians paid attention on the all possible visible heavenly area and divide them into constellations. The real division of constellation is neither equal, nor symmetrical, since they are imaginarily formed segments with respect to cluster of different Fixed Stars lying in them. Ancients did so for the sake of navigation and certain rituals and sacrifices. From time to time discoveries of new Fixed Stars and constellations have been piled up. Now the number of constellations has reached to 88. Contrary to the ancients Greeks and medieval Persians and modern West; Indians have strictly been followed 27 or 28 nakshatra (constellations on the belt of Ecliptic) for all kinds of prognostications.

There also brings forth a question of number of Fixed Stars. Nobody exactly knows the accurate figure; even modern astronomers yield an estimated average number. Generally, a human eye can gaze around 6000 Fixed Stars. Whereas, Ptolemy listed positions of 1022 Fixed Stars. Modern scientific instruments and mathematical techniques made this figure in millions. But, only a small number of millions of Fixed Stars are used for astrological delineations and predictions. Most of the astrologers and researchers agree on more or less 100 Fixed Stars that play effective role in natal and mundane horoscope. And among them, about 20 to 50 Fixed Stars are considered really vital. Deborah Houlding, runner of SkyScript made a useful list of 20 Brightest Stars. However, you should be mindful about longitudes of Fixed Stars. Deborah has given tropical (projected) longitudes for year 2000. Either update the referred above longitude or better is to follow sidereal longitude, as given in the next section.

How to use Fixed Stars

Today’s astrology is no longer an observational art. For last few decades, it has turned into a theoretical guess work based on the readymade computer generated charts and directions. A majority of learners do not bother to understand essential of Ganitha or Siddhanta (astronomical elements) which is indeed pitiful. But the proper usage of Fixed Stars asks for applied understanding of Ecliptic, Horizon, Right Ascension, Longitudes, Latitude and Sidereal Time. 

At present, three major techniques of Fixed Stars application are in vogue. The first methodology is dependent on transforming the location of Fixed Star into celestial longitudes, and it is generally followed (because it involves not labour of calculation). But some astrologers reject the practice of following longitudes of Fixed Stars, and advice to consider the rising, culminating and setting of Fixed Stars at the time and place of birth. Keep in mind that most of the Fixed Stars do not reside on ecliptic belt (like Sun, Moon, Mars etc.). For the sake of predictive ease, astrologers project the position of Fixed Star on ecliptic through the line of Right Ascension and deduce projected ecliptical degrees (PED).

An important point, about the longitudes of Fixed Stars given in online websites and books, is that they are tropical by default, and keep changing on account of precision of equinoxes. This implies that tropical position of Fixed Stars given in the Star Catalogue of Ptolemy (2nd century) is different from Al Beruni (10th century), and Al Beruni’s lists of Fixed Star is at variant from William Lilly’s calculation (17th century). On the other hand, most of the online sources list tropical degrees for either 1900 AD or 2000 AD. Only certain astrology software yields true outcome according to one’s date of birth. For readers and followers of sidereal zodiac, table of Fixed Stars with projected sidereal degrees are given below.

List of Fixed Stars and Projected Sidereal Longitudes

 

Name

Constellation

Mag.

 Longitude (Sidereal)

 Nature

      

1

Mirach

 Andromeda

2.4

 06 Ari 32′ 24″

 Venus

2

Mira

 Cetus

3

 07 Ari 39′ 34″

 Saturn + Jupiter

3

Sheratan

 Aries

2.7

 10 Ari 06′ 22″

 Mars + Saturn

4

Hamal

 Aries

2.2

 13 Ari 47′ 51″

 Mars + Saturn

5

Schedar

 Cassiopeia

2.5

 13 Ari 55′ 10″

 Saturn

6

Alamak

 Andromeda

2.3

 20 Ari 21′ 43″

 Venus

7

Menkar

 Cetus

2.8

 20 Ari 27′ 30″

 Saturn

8

Zurak

 Eridanus

3.2

 00 Tau 00′ 17″

 Saturn

9

Algol

 Perseus

2.2

 02 Tau 18′ 18″

 Saturn + Jupiter

10

Alcyone

 Taurus

3

 06 Tau 07′ 47″

 Moon + Mars

11

Hyades

 Taurus

3.9

 13 Tau 00′ 26″

 Saturn + Mercury

12

Ain

 Taurus

3.6

 14 Tau 36′ 05″

 Venus + Moon

13

Aldebaran

 Taurus

1.1

 15 Tau 55′ 34″

 Mars

14

Rigel

 Orion

0.3

 22 Tau 58′ 03″

 Jupiter + Saturn

15

Bellatrix

 Orion

1.7

 27 Tau 05′ 05″

 Mars + Mercury

16

Capella

 Auriga

0.2

 27 Tau 59′ 40″

 Mars + Mercury

17

Phakt

 Columba

2.8

 28 Tau 18′ 25″

 Mercury + Venus

18

El Nath

 Taurus

1.8

 28 Tau 42′ 46″

 Mars

19

Alnilam

 Orion

1.8

 29 Tau 36′ 05″

 Jupiter + Saturn

20

Alhena

 Gemini

1.9

 00 Gem 55′ 21″

 Venus + Jupiter

21

Polaris

 Ursa Minor

2.1

 04 Gem 42′ 20″

 Saturn + Venus

22

Betelgeuse

 Orion

0.8

 04 Gem 53′ 31″

 Mars + Mercury

23

Menkalinan

 Auriga

1.9

 06 Gem 02′ 57″

 Jupiter

24

Sirius

 Canis Major

-1.4

 20 Gem 13′ 42″

 Jupiter + Mars

25

Canopus

 Carina

-0.9

 21 Gem 05′ 44″

 Saturn + Jupiter

26

Castor

 Gemini

1.6

 26 Gem 22′ 51″

 Mercury

27

Pollux

 Gemini

1.2

 29 Gem 21′ 42″

 Mars

28

Procyon

 Canis Minor

0.5

 01 Can 55′ 58″

 Mercury + Mars

29

Asellus Borealis

 Cancer

4.7

 13 Can 40′ 39″

 Sun + Mars

30

Asellus Australis

 Cancer

4.2

 14 Can 51′ 37″

 Sun + Mars

31

Kochab

 Ursa Minor

2.2

 19 Can 27′ 42″

 Saturn + Venus

32

Acubens

 Cancer

4.3

 19 Can 46′ 45″

 Mars + Saturn

33

Dubhe

 Ursa Major

2

 21 Can 20′ 19″

 Mars

34

Merak

 Ursa Major

2.4

 25 Can 34′ 21″

 Mars

35

Algenubi

 Leo

3.1

 26 Can 50′ 37″

 Mars

36

Alphard

 Hydra

2.2

 03 Leo 24′ 59″

 Saturn + Venus

37

Regulus

 Leo

1.3

 05 Leo 58′ 12″

 Mars + Jupiter

38

Phecda

 Ursa Major

2.5

 06 Leo 36′ 54″

 Mars

39

Alioth

 Ursa Major

1.7

 15 Leo 04′ 18″

 Mars

40

Zosma

 Leo

2.6

 17 Leo 27′ 12″

 Saturn + Venus

41

Mizar

 Ursa Major

2.4

 21 Leo 50′ 19″

 Mars

42

Denebola

 Leo

2.2

 27 Leo 45′ 42″

 Saturn + Venus

43

Alkaid

 Ursa Major

1.9

 03 Vir 04′ 31″

 Mars

44

Vindemiatrix

 Virgo

3

 16 Vir 04′ 54″

 Saturn + Mercury

45

Algorab

 Corvus

3.1

 19 Vir 35′ 30″

 Saturn + Mars

46

Spica

 Virgo

1.2

 29 Vir 58′ 47″

 Venus + Mars

47

Arcturus

 Bootes

0.2

 00 Lib 23′ 25″

 Mars + Jupiter

48

Gacrux

 Crux

1.6

 12 Lib 52′ 35″

 Jupiter

49

Mimosa

 Crux

1.5

 17 Lib 47′ 01″

 Jupiter

50

Acrux

 Crux

1.6

 18 Lib 00′ 26″

 Jupiter

51

Alphecca

 Corona Borealis

2.3

 18 Lib 25′ 58″

 Venus + Mercury

52

Zuben Elegenubi

 Libra

2.9

 21 Lib 13′ 19″

 Saturn + Mars

53

Zuben Eschemali

 Libra

2.7

 25 Lib 30′ 38″

 Jupiter + Mercury

54

Unukalhai

 Serpens

2.8

 28 Lib 12′ 42″

 Saturn + Mars

55

Agena

 Centaurus

0.9

 29 Lib 55′ 47″

 Venus + Jupiter

56

Rigel Kentaurus

 Centaurus

0.1

 05 Sco 40′ 19″

 Venus + Jupiter

57

Dschubba

 Scorpius

2.5

 08 Sco 42′ 32″

 Mars + Saturn

58

Acrab

 Scorpius

2.9

 09 Sco 19′ 40″

 Mars + Saturn

59

Antares

 Scorpius

1.2

 15 Sco 54′ 00″

 Mars + Jupiter

60

Ras Algethi

 Hercules

3.2

 22 Sco 17′ 24″

 Mars + Venus

61

Graffias

 Scorpius

3.8

 23 Sco 22′ 36″

 Mars + Saturn

62

Ras Alhague

 Ophiuchus

2.1

 28 Sco 35′ 04″

 Saturn + Venus

63

Lesath

 Scorpius

2.8

 00 Sag 09′ 01″

 Mars + Mercury

64

Eltanin

 Draco

2.4

 04 Sag 06′ 22″

 Saturn + Jupiter

65

Vega

 Lyra

0.1

 21 Sag 26′ 52″

 Venus + Mercury

66

Deneb Okab

 Aquila

3.4

 29 Sag 46′ 17″

 Mars + Jupiter

67

Altair

 Aquila

0.9

 07 Cap 54′ 21″

 Mars + Jupiter

68

Giedi a1

 Capricornus

4.6

 09 Cap 54′ 24″

 Venus + Mars

69

Giedi a2

 Capricornus

3.8

 09 Cap 59′ 43″

 Venus + Mars

70

Dabih

 Capricornus

3.2

 10 Cap 11′ 03″

 Venus + Saturn

71

Deneb Algedi

 Capricornus

3

 29 Cap 40′ 36″

 Saturn + Jupiter

72

Fomalhaut

 Piscis Austrini

1.3

 09 Aqu 59′ 38″

 Venus + Mercury

73

Deneb Adige

 Cygnus

1.3

 11 Aqu 27′ 50″

 Venus + Mercury

74

Achernar

 Eridanus

0.6

 21 Aqu 26′ 58″

 Jupiter

75

Markab

 Pegasus

2.6

 29 Aqu 37′ 19″

 Mars + Mercury

76

Scheat

 Pegasus

2.6

 05 Pis 30′ 31″

 Saturn

77

Deneb Kaitos

 Cetus

2.2

 08 Pis 43′ 08″

 Saturn

78

Algenib

 Pegasus

2.9

 15 Pis 17′ 35″

 Mars + Mercury

79

Alpheratz

 Andromeda

2.2

 20 Pis 26′ 36″

 Jupiter + Venus

80

Baten Kaitos

 Cetus

3.9

 28 Pis 05′ 15″

 Saturn

Above table contains six columns. First column indicates serial number, second column lists 80 well known Fixed Stars names. Linguistically, most of the names are Greek, Arabic, Latin or their derivates. The third column signifies the constellation in which a particular Fixed Star resides in heaven. Jyotish students and practitioners should not confuse with the names and numbers of given constellations. They are not generally used 27 or 28 constellations on ring of Ecliptic, or in simple words, upon the zodiacal signs. As discussed earlier, these constellations are actually irregular segments of the entire spherical heaven. The forth column has header ‘Mag.’ i.e. magnitude of a Fixed Star. Magnitude simply indicates the level of apparent brightness. They are actually class or level of brightness, and may vary from time to time. 1 magnitude means 1st class brighter star, 2 connotes 2nd class brighter star and so on. But some Fixed Stars are too bright like Sun. For them negative values are given, viz.; with Sirius and Canopus. The fifth column indicates the sidereal longitudes. But one should not forget that these longitudes are actually projected longitudes along the Right Ascensions, since most of the Fixed Stars do not domicile on Ecliptic. The final and sixth column of above table reveals the nature of Fixed Stars. It was Ptolemy who popularized the nature of Fixed Star in term of characteristics of a planet or admixture of two planets. Keep in mind, there is minor difference on attribution of planets with Fixed Stars among different authorities. Moreover, there are also multiple names of a same star.

Fixed Stars, is a wide and equally deep area of study therefore it is not possible to summarize all aspects in a single article. But the question is what to do with this table.

A simple but crude technique of using Fixed Stars is to look at the close conjunction of a planet or cusp of angles with longitudes of Fixed Stars.

Although, few astrologers follow Lilly’s instructions, and consider opposition, trine and square of Fixed Stars with natal planetary positions and cusps of angles. But in scribe’s opinion, conjunction ought to give preference over all other aspects. Usually a very close orb (deeptamsa) of 1 degree for Fixed Stars’ conjunction is followed. Sometimes, 2 or at most 3 degree orb is taken, provided a certain Bright Fixed Star be conjoined to an important planet at cusp of Asc., MC., Dsc. or IC. If one does not take care of this point, then a horoscope will turn into a mess of dozens, perhaps, hundreds of Fixed Stars.

There is another method of implying Fixed Stars on natal or mundane horoscope through their real presence at 4 key points of horizon of birth place. If a Fixed Star rise, culminate, set or anti-culminate simultaneously with a planet then they are said to be “mutually related” or in “Paran” of each other.

In other words, it is a location-specific technique. But, it is difficult to manually calculate said connection (Paran) without aid of star map, Fixed Stars calendar (rise and set date and time), and birth place latitude and Sidereal Time. Because there are some Fixed Stars that (appears) rising or setting at different geographical latitudes on different months, even there are a few Fixed Stars that cannot rise or set on certain place of birth.

Some Fixed Stars exist either too north or too south of equator, for instance, Polaris (also known as North Star, Polar Star or Dhruva) has declination 89°18’ N, therefore it is always visible on sky and cannot appear rising or setting. In a similar fashion, other highly northerly or southerly located Fixed Stars should avoid, if they found too far from latitude of your birth place.

For knowing whether a Fixed Star can appear rising or setting, you need two figures. First declination of Fixed Star, and secondly, latitude of your birth place. Some of higher northerly and southerly placed important Fixed Stars’ declinations are as follows. Fixed Star ‘Schedar’ has declination 56°36’N, Alamak has 42°23’N, Capella has 46°0’N, Menkalinan has 44°57’N, Canopus has 52°42’S, Kochab has 74°6’N, Dubhe has 61°41’N, Merak has 56°19’N, Phecda has 53°38’N, Alioth has 55°54’N, Mizar has 54°52’N, Alkaid has 49°15’N, Gacrux has 57°11’S, Mimosa has 59°45’S, Acrux has 63°10’S, Agena has 60°26’S, Rigel Kentaurus has 60°53’S, Eltanin has 51°29’N and Achernar has declination 57°11’S.

Since celestial declination is the projection of terrestrial latitude, and both are compatible coordinates therefore you can guess whether a Fixed Star can rise or set at latitude of your place of birth or not. Mumbai has latitude of around 19°north or to be exact at 18°58’N, Sydney is located below the equator at latitude of 33°53’S, while London is located quite high at the globe at 51°39’N. Now a simple technique how to know whether a certain Fixed Star can ‘rise’, as well as ‘set’ at your birth place.

Step-1: Note the declination of Fixed Star and subtract it from 90.

For example Algol is approximately at declination of 41°N.

On subtracting declination of Algol from 90, we have: 90° – 41° = 49°

Step-2: Now consider subtracted result as N (north) and S (south), and compare it from latitude of birth city.

Following above example of Algol, we have: 49°N and 49°S.

It means notoriously evil Fixed Star Algol can never set at geographical latitude (northerly) greater than 49°N. Hence, for a native born in London with latitude: 51°39’N, Fixed Star Algol can never set, and thus should discard for considering rise or set.  At the same time, Algol can also never rise at any place having latitude (southerly) greater than 49°S. For instance in some of the southernmost towns of Chile and Argentina, located at latitude 50°S, Fixed Star Algol having declination of 41°N can never rise. Thus Algol contains no meaning in the horoscopes of people born there.

Take another example of Canopus having declination 52°42’S. On subtracting it from 90, we have: 90° – 52°42’ = 37°18’. Or 37°18’N and 37°18’S. It implies that Fixed Star Canopus can never set at latitude greater than 37°18’S. Hence at Wellington, New Zealand that is located in southern hemisphere at 41°17’S, Fixed Star Canopus can never set i.e. always visible. Similarly, at latitude greater than 37°18’ N, Canopus, can also never rise. For instance in Washington D.C. that has latitude 38°54’N, Canopus can never rise, and should avoid for the purpose of rising and setting.

There is yet another method to find what Fixed Star was culminating (i.e. placed at the top of visible sky) at the time of Birth through Sidereal Time. For this purpose, compare the Right Ascension of Fixed Star closest to the Local Sidereal Time.

New versions of Janus and Solar Fire Gold software can accurately compute Fixed Stars’ rise, culminate, set and anti-culminate with all planets. There is another special software design for the purpose of Paran, called “Starlight” which is based on the research work of Bernadette Brady. It is specially designed for Fixed Stars and Sky maps.

Whatever be the technique, Fixed Stars with planets and cusps of four angles indicate course of destiny and life track, and not merely psyche, mental makeup, personality etc. This is an important point to note. In ancient times, Fixed Stars are attributed to the deterministic elements (or say constant parameter) of the equation of life. Fixed Stars should also explain in the perspective of the figure and symbol of constellation where they domicile. In short, try to decode the legend, figure, and symbol of Fixed Stars.

Take an example with a very brief effect of Fixed Stars in natal chart. Dr. B.V.Raman, a highly respected name in the world of Indian astrology, was born on 8 Aug 1912 in Bangalore (latitude 12o59’N) with Aquarius lagna. 

Graha

Position

Relation

Fixed Star

Position

Moon

23°Ta38′

conjoined

Rigel

22°Ta57′

Lagna

09°Aq07′

conjoined

Fomalhaut

09°Aq59′

MC

15°Sc25′

conjoined

Antares

15°Sc54′

Mars

22°Le 49′

conjoined

Mizar

21°Le50′

Lagna

-10°51′

parallel

Spica

-10°42′

Mercury

+05°29′

parallel

Procyon

+05°27′

His Moon (23oTa38’) is in conjunction with star Rigel (22oTa58’), whereas his MC (cusp of 10th house) is in conjunction of Antrares (15oSc54’). Moreover, Dr. Raman’s lagna is also quite close to the Fomalhaut and parallel to another Fixed Star Spica. This is not a common occurrence. Rigel (in the constellation of Orion) is attributed to preacher of knowledge, besides bestowing courage and bringing good luck. Fomalhaut – one of the Royal Stars of Persia – is related to acquiring fame through science and mystery. But Antares, lying in the heart of Scorpio, is a highly sensitive and powerful star. It yields great success through a passion but it simultaneously produces hurdles on account of obsession or extreme likes and dislikes.

From the perspective of mutual rise, culminate or set of Fixed Stars with radical planets, Antares and Midheaven (MC) both were culminating at the sky of Bangalore when B.V. Raman was born.

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