that important to me what my chart's doing but it matters a great deal what the sky is upto when I'm working magick. As I said, I am no Astrologist, so I give you Winterhawk (Danelle Dragonetti) who is one, to explain in technical terms what the differences areand why they are so important. - Wyn Summerhawk Needless to say the above story got me thinking as well. Recently a friend who is intoSidereal Astrology asked me to open in my Tropical Ephemeris, look up the position for the Moon, do the math to get the position for local time and look to see if the Moon wasin that constellation outside. I did but, IT WASN'T!! I checked my math. My math wascorrect. I checked the ephemeris against my favorite program, Astrolog. It's coordinateswere just fine and matched the program but, the planet wasn't there in reality. Whathappened?Tropical Astrology is based on an imaginary point in space that the Earth comes to everyspring. The Vernal Equinox, March 21st. That imaginary point is what keeps the seasonsin their place and all Gregorian calendars are aligned to it every March 21st. (This is alsowhy we have leap year.)Before we go further, let me explain what Tropical and Sidereal are in scientific terms.(Not too scientific though)Sidereal, or stellar, time is a system of time reckoning based on the rotation of the Earthwith respect to the celestial sphere, the imaginary sphere of the heavens surrounding us.As the Earth rotates, one sidereal day is the time that it takes for a star to again passdirectly above a given observation point. Sidereal time is used in astronomical work. Thesidereal day is about four minutes shorter than the solar day. More precisely, 1 meansolar day = 1.0027379093 sidereal days. An observer's local meridian is the great circle passing through the observer's zenith and the celestial poles. The angle measuredwestward from this meridian to the hour circle is called the hour angle (HA) of the star.The hour angle of the vernal equinox is defined as the local sidereal time of the observer;therefore, right ascension + hour angle = sidereal time. Sometimes, in place of delta, thenorth polar distance (NPD) is used; this is the angle measured from the north pole to thestar.Since the vernal equinox and equator are not fixed, because of PRECESSION, it isnecessary to specify at what date or epoch the coordinates were measured. For instance,on the vernal equinox (Spring or March 21) in the year 221, if you were to look up in thesky at noon on that date in Greenwich , England Aries would be right above your head at0°. If you go out on March 21, 1996 at noon in Greenwich and look up you'll see 6° of Pisces. That's what precession does.The Tropical year is the period of time of one revolution of the Earth around the Sunmeasured between successive vernal equinoxes. It equals 365.24220 mean solar days, or 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes, 46 seconds. Also called the solar year or the year of theseasons, the tropical year is the basis of the calendar. This is why winter happens in thenorthern hemisphere between December and March.