The Sun's Path Through the Stars

The constellations we see in the evening sky change from season to season. For example, in January, Orion dominates the early evening sky, while in March, Leo dominates. These changes arise from the Earth's motion around the Sun.

The Sun's glare hides the stars that lie in the part of the sky beyond the Sun. But as the Earth moves around the Sun, the Sun's position against the background stars changes and constellations previously hidden become visible.

The animated drawing below shows how this happens.

The Sun's Yearly Path through the Stars

Note: to replay a movie, click the reload button at the top of the netscape page.

As seen from the Earth, the Sun moves along a path through the stars. Astronomers call that path the ecliptic. Replay the movie to see the part of the path from Taurus to Leo. Do those constellation names sound familiar? They are of course constellations of the Zodiac, the band of the sky centered on the Sun's path.