Planets basically show 2 types of motion:

  1. Diurnal Motion
  2. Proper Motion

Diurnal (Daily) Motion:

We are seeing planets from earth. Everyday we see the sun rising in the east and sets in west. So do the other planets appear to be moving from east to west DAILY.

Note that this is apparent motion – we see planets moving because actually the earth is moving and we are on the earth so we act as stationary observer.

So from Earth, all planets including sun and even the rashis (12) seem to appear to be moving from east to west DAILY.

Proper Motion:

It is the actual motion of the planet – as the planet moves from one sign to other. This movement is SLOW depending on the planet.


This may seem to be contradictory…

Remember planets aways move from one sign to other in order… Like from Aries(1) to Taurus (2) to Gemini (3) and so on….

Lets have one old diagram re-loooked


Note that at 10 am, Sun will be in Gemini (for this example), at 6 pm it may still be in Gemini but the entire sign of Gemini (Each sign takes approx 2 and half hours to move) will be in the west instead of current position and therefore sun appears to be setting. But sun still remains in Gemini (as per proper motion)

So Sun rises in east and sets in west. This is what an observer may see from earth. THIS IS DIURNAL MOTION – Daily Motion of the Sun/ any other planet.

Note that Sun its proper motion will travel (Proper motion is the motion of Sun itself against the background of Constellations). From Gemini to Cancer. Sun takes  approx 1 month to change sign as per proper motion.

The PROPER MOTION of all planets is from Aries(1) to Taurus (2) to Gemini (3) and so on….till Pisces (12) and from Pisces back to Aries and so on …

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