Notation, Abbreviations and Stuff

There are a number of "shorthand notations" used in these astrology pages, as well as certain technical details that may be useful to know (or ignore).

Zodiacal Positions

The positions of the planets, etc. are described by where in the zodiac they lie. The zodiac is divided into 12 signs of 30 degrees each, and each degree contains 60 minutes. Hence a position like 4Vi40 means "4 degrees and 40 minutes of the sign Virgo". In general, a position is written "ddZZmm", where the 1 or 2 digit number dd is the degrees, ZZ is a two letter abbreviation for the zodiac sign (see below), and the last 2 digits mm are the minutes.

The zodiac position 0Ar00, also known as the "spring equinox" or "the first point of Aries", corresponds to the position of the Sun on the first day of spring (around March 20th or 21st).

Abbreviations for the Zodiac Signs

Ar = Aries = 0°
Ta = Taurus = 30°
Gm = Gemini = 60°
Cn = Cancer = 90°
Le = Leo = 120°
Vi = Virgo = 150°
Li = Libra = 180°
Sc = Scorpio = 210°
Sa = Sagittarius = 240°
Cp = Capricorn = 270°
Aq = Aquarius = 300°
Pi = Pisces = 330°

Time Zones

What "time of day" it is depends on where you are on the Earth's surface. When it's high noon in one place, the spot on the opposite side of the globe is experiencing midnight. To help standardize this notion of "different times", the idea of "time zones" was introduced in the 1880's. The basic concept was to divide the Earth's surface into 24 zones (one for each hour of the day), where each zone keeps the same time. Adjacent time zones will differ by one hour, e.g., 10:00 Eastern Time corresponds to 9:00 Central Time. The entire time zone scheme is anchored at the Prime Meridian (0° of longitude) that runs through the Greenwich Observatory in England. The time standard kept at this longitude is called "Greenwich Mean Time" (or GMT), although the technical name "Coordinated Universal Time" (UTC) is more acceptable these days. Every 15° of longitude both east and west from the Prime Meridian is considered to be a new time zone.

While simple in theory, this scheme has been corrupted over the years, mostly for political reasons that have nothing to do with the science of keeping time. Also, the idea of "Daylight Saving Time" (DST) was introduced in many places (to give more daylight in the evening hours during summer). Places that observe DST will turn their clocks ahead one hour during the summer (usually early April to late October).

The following table lists some common time zones and how they relate to GMT. In particular, the local time corresponding to a given time zone relates to GMT through a value I call "dtz" via the formula:

local time = GMT + dtz
For instance, Central Standard Time (CST) has a dtz of -6 hours, so 12:00 noon GMT is the same as 6:00 in the morning CST, that is 12:00 GMT - 6 hours = 6:00 CST. If Daylight Saving Time is in effect, dtz increases by one hour, so 12:00 GMT = 7:00 CDT.

Time Zone NameAbbreviationValue of dtz (hours) 12:00 GMT =
Greenwich Mean TimeGMT or UTC012:00
Eastern TimeEST-57:00
Mountain TimeMST-75:00
Pacific TimePST-84:00