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Astronomical Basics

Western astrology, as well as astronomical ephemeris, use the tropical zodiac. This kind of calculation sets the point 0 Aries (vernal point) to the position of the Sun at the time of spring equinox.

This kind of zodiac is called tropical or in sanskrit sayana. Tropical zodiac plays only a small role in Vedic astrology; 99% of calculations depend on the sidereal zodiac. This kind of zodiac has the reference point in the stars. The point 0 Aries is interpreted as the beginning of the sign Aries (or the Nakshatra Aswini) in the sky.

Ayanamsa is the difference between tropical and sidereal zodiac. The actual value is about 23:56, i.e. this value must be deducted from the tropical length of each planet to get the sidereal length.

There is a movement of the vernal point compared with the stars. The speed of the movement (called precession) is given by Jet Propulsion Laboratoy (Nasa) as

5028.83 (+- 0.04) arcsec/century i.e. 1:23:48.83 deg/century.

Assumed that the precession is always constant, we get a total period of 25771.4021 years. The tolerance of +-0.04 arcsec/cty implies that the correct value must be between 25771.197 and 25771.716 years.

But we may get a different period if the precession is not constant and has long term fluctuations.

Calculation of Ayanamsa

Assumed that the precession given by astronomical ephemeris is correct, the key question for Ayanamsa calculation is to determine the correct Ayanamsa value for a given date (reference date).

Reference date (called t0) can be any date, most Ayanamsas refer to Jan 1 1900.
Reference Ayanamsa (called ayan_t0) is the Ayanamsa value at the reference date (e.g. 22:27:37.76 degrees for Lahiri Ayanamsa and Jan 1 1900).

Differences between standard Ayanamsas can be measured in t0 and ayan_t0. The following table gives these values for some standard Ayanamsas. The values are taken from swiss ephemeris. These values for Lahiri, Raman and Krishnamurti are also the built-in defaults of Maitreya.

Name t0 (JD) t0 (Date) ayan_t0 ayan_t0 (Deg) Reference
Lahiri (Chitra Paksha) 2415020.0 1900 Jan 0.5 22.46047 22:27:37.7 Spica (Chitra) at 0 Libra
De Luce 2415020.0 1900 Jan 0.5 26.41305 26:24:46.98 Zeta Piscium (Revati)
Raman 2415020.0 1900 Jan 0.5 21.01444 21:00:52 Calculation of B.V. Raman
Ushashashi 2415020.0 1900 Jan 0.5 18.66096 18:39:39.46 Unknown
Krishnamurti 2415020.0 1900 Jan 0.5 22.363889 22:21:50 Calculation of Krishnamurti
Djwhal Khool 2415020.0 1900 Jan 0.5 26.9630976 26:57:47.15 Ingress of vernal point into Aquarius in 2117 AD
Sri Yukteswar 2415020.0 1900 Jan 0.5 21.082222 21:04:56 The Holy Science (see below)
JN Bhasin 2415020.0 1900 Jan 0.5 21.365556 21:21:56 Unknown
Fagan-Bradley 2433282.5 1950 Jan 1 24.04204 24:02:31.36 Spica (Chitra) at 29:06:05 Virgo

Notes

  1. Most popular Ayanamsas have slightly different versions. E.g. the value ayan_t0 of Lahiri Ayanamsa is according to other sources 22:27:59 or 22:27:55.
  2. Comments on Sri Yukteswar's Ayanamsa are given in the following section.