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The term "zodiac" may also refer to the region of the celestial sphere encompassing the paths of the planets corresponding to the band of about eight arc degrees above and below the ecliptic.The zodiac of a given planet is the band that contains the path of that particular body; e.g., the "zodiac of the Moon" is the band of five degrees above and below the ecliptic.By extension, the "zodiac of the comets" may refer to the band encompassing most short-period comets. GAL "The Great Twins", and Cancer "The Crab", from AL. Around the end of the 5th century BC, Babylonian astronomers divided the ecliptic into twelve equal "signs", by analogy to twelve schematic months of thirty days each.The division of the ecliptic into the zodiacal signs originates in Babylonian ("Chaldean") astronomy during the first half of the 1st millennium BC. Each sign contained thirty degrees of celestial longitude, thus creating the first known celestial coordinate system.
The twelve astrological signs form a celestial coordinate system, or even more specifically an ecliptic coordinate system, which takes the ecliptic as the origin of latitude and the Sun's position at vernal equinox as the origin of longitude., "animal").The name reflects the prominence of animals (and mythological hybrids) among the twelve signs.