Knowledge of the Babylonian zodiac is also reflected in the Tanakh, but is the first recorded astrological division into 12 constellations, elaborated on in the Talmuds, books of the Midrash Rabba, and other minor works. Martin and others have argued that the arrangement of the tribes around the Tabernacle (reported in the Book of Numbers) corresponded to the order of the Zodiac, with Judah, Reuben, Ephraim, and Dan representing the middle signs of Leo, Aquarius, Taurus, and Scorpio, respectively.
The paths of the Moon and visible planets also remain close to the ecliptic, within the belt of the zodiac, which extends 8-9° north or south of the ecliptic, as measured in celestial latitude.
Because the divisions are regular, they do not correspond exactly to the boundaries of the twelve constellations after which they are named.
Historically, these twelve divisions are called signs.
By extension, the "zodiac of the comets" may refer to the band encompassing most short-period comets. Some of the constellations can be traced even further back, to Bronze Age (Old Babylonian) sources, including Gemini "The Twins", from MAŠ. Because the division was made into equal arcs, 30° each, they constituted an ideal system of reference for making predictions about a planet's longitude.
The division of the ecliptic into the zodiacal signs originates in Babylonian ("Chaldean") astronomy during the first half of the 1st millennium BC, likely during Median/"Neo-Babylonian" times (7th century BC). However, Babylonian techniques of observational measurements were in a rudimentary stage of evolution and it is unclear whether they had techniques to define in a precise way the boundary lines between the zodiacal signs in the sky.
Constellations were given the names of the signs and asterisms could be connected in a way that would resemble the sign's name.
Therefore, in spite of its conceptual origin, the Babylonian zodiac became sidereal. Bullinger interpreted the creatures appearing in the book of Ezekiel as the middle signs of the four quarters of the Zodiac, Some authors have linked the twelve tribes of Israel with the twelve signs.
Essentially, the zodiac is a celestial coordinate system, or more specifically an ecliptic coordinate system, which takes the ecliptic as the origin of latitude, and the position of the Sun at vernal equinox as the origin of longitude.
The zodiac was in use by the Roman era, based on concepts inherited by Hellenistic astronomy from Babylonian astronomy of the Chaldean period (mid-1st millennium BC), which, in turn, derived from an earlier system of lists of stars along the ecliptic. The name is motivated by the fact that half of the signs of the classical Greek zodiac are represented as animals (besides two mythological hybrids).
Although the zodiac remains the basis of the ecliptic coordinate system in use in astronomy besides the equatorial one, 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. GAL "The Great Twins", and Cancer "The Crab", from AL. Babylonian astronomers at some stage during the early 1st millennium BC divided the ecliptic into twelve equal zones of celestial longitude to create the first known celestial coordinate system: a coordinate system that boasts some advantages over modern systems (such as the equatorial coordinate system).
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. The Babylonian calendar as it stood in the 7th century BC assigned each month to a sign, beginning with the position of the Sun at vernal equinox, which, at the time, was depicted as the Aries constellation ("Age of Aries"), for which reason the first sign is still called "Aries" even after the vernal equinox has moved away from the Aries constellation due to the slow precession of the Earth's axis of rotation.