The ascendant of a given geographic location at a given point in time is the point on the zodiac which coincides with — i.e., is ascending over — the eastern horizon as viewed from that place and time.

The astrological Ascendant, or Rising Sign, is the zodiacal sign that was ascending on the Eastern horizon at the moment an individual took their first breath in this world. For example, if an individual was born exactly at the moment of sunrise and the Sun was in Leo at that moment, the Ascendant would be in the same sign as the Sun-sign, so the person would have Leo Rising (or Ascendant in Leo) in addition to having the Sun in Leo.

Briefly, the Ascendant is the precise degree (01 of 360) of the zodiac rising over the eastern horizon of the birthplace at the moment of birth. There are exactly 30 degrees per astrological sign, and because 12 multiplied by 30 equals 360 which is the span of the ecliptic, all twelve signs rise and fall during the course of one 24-hour day. This exact rising degree forms the first house cusp of a horoscope and is said to be of great personal significance in the character and life of the individual. The planet that rules the astrological sign rising in the East at the moment of birth is said to be the chart ruler.

Because all twelve of the zodiac signs rise and set during one 24-hour day and about one degree of the ecliptic rises about every four minutes, each sign takes approximately two hours to rise and set depending on the time of year; thus, because it takes the earth about 24 hours to do a full 360 degree turn on its axis, all twelve signs rise and set each day.

An exact birth time is vital to calculating the Ascendant with accuracy. When looking at the natal chart, the Ascendant is located on the cusp of the First House of your astrological chart — or at the nine o'clock position.

The ascendant is of great significance in most schools of astrology, and most astrologers believe that the Rising Sign exerts an influence equal to or more powerful than that of the Sun and Moon signs.

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