Nakshatra refers to an area of the sky in the Vedas
It explains how the sun (Suryah) on rising at dawn illuminates the nakshatras. Since the sun illuminates the sky and not constellations, as it rises, I believe this mantra supports the definition of nakshatra, as a region of the sky as given below by Chatterjee and Chakravarthy.
What is a nakshatra?
To indicate day to day position of the moon in relation to the stars, the zodiac has been divided into 27 equal parts, from a fixed initial point in the ecliptic. Each part is known as a nakshatra or nakshatra division. and it covers 13 deg 20 min or 800 min of arc of the ecliptic.
Each Nakshatra division is named after a selected star which is generally prominent or traditionally well known and is broadly equally spaced in the zodiac. These identifying stars are called yogataras.
Not all Yogataras are located in the lune of the nakshatra division. for eg Ardra, Swati, Jyesta, Poorvashada, Uttarashada, Sravana and Dhanishta.
The word Nakshatra in the context of panchangas means the nakshatra division signified by that Nakshatra.
Reference : History of Astronomy in India. Indian National Science Academy.1985. Chapter 9. Indian Calendar from Post-Vedic period to AD 1900. Page 274: S.K. Chatterjee and A.K. Chakravarthy.
See Also :
- Nakshatras, Grahas, Varas, Rasis, Masas, Rtus,
- Rg Veda Samhita Translation by H.P. Venkata Rao, Samhita, Pada Patha, Sayana Bhashya, Pada artha, tatparya and english translation
- My Translation of Rg Veda 7th Mandala (Vasishta) 7.081.02 : the mantram illustrated below.
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