|This sky calendar and
the Zodiac constellations we identify today were first used by Babylonian
astronomers about 2500 years ago. Babylonia was a Middle Eastern
culture that is well-known for its discoveries in astronomy and other
sciences. The Babylonians used the Zodiac constellations to tell when
spring was coming. This allowed them to tell when it was time to plant
crops and to prepare for changes in the weather.
The Babylonians recognized twelve
Zodiac constellations. They were adopted by later cultures, and
have become associated with myths and stories. For example, the Zodiac
constellation Sagittarius form the pattern of a centaur (a
half-man, half-horse creature) named Chiron, who is shooting an arrow.
According to Greek mythology, Chiron was one of Herculesí
teachers. Hercules shot Chiron with a poison arrow by mistake.
Hercules made Chiron into a constellation to relieve his suffering.