One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
Each of 27 (or, according to some texts, 28) equal divisions of the ecliptic through which the moon passes during the course of a sidereal month; a lunar mansion; the period of time with which each of these corresponds.
Late 18th century; earliest use found in Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. From Sanskrit nakṣatra star, lunar mansion (lit. ‘with dominion over night’) from nak, nakt- + kṣatra dominion.
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