Ophiuchus: Nasa confirms it did not change Zodiac sign

The Babylonians decided to leave out the 13th constellation 3000 years ago

Adam Smith
Friday 17 July 2020 14:05 BST
Nasa post sparks panic that everyone's starsigns have changed

Nasa has confirmed that it did not make a new star sign.

Despite numerous articles suggesting otherwise, the space agency said that it has made no change to the zodiac, and pointed out that astrology (which is not a science) is separate to astronomy (which is).

In a blog post, Nasa explained that the zodiac – which people based their astrological sign on – are simply constellations that are in line with the Earth and the Sun as the planet follows its orbit.

That post was originally written in 2016, in response to one of many previous times the story has been circulated, but Nasa has tweeted it again after the latest outbreak of panic.

"We see your comments about a zodiac story that re-emerges every few years. No, we did not change the zodiac," it wrote, linking out to a Tumblr post that explained what had actually happened.

The space agency made clear that it was the Babylonians who, 3000 years ago, divided the zodiac into 12 parts based on the 12 months of their calendar.

While there was a 13th constellation, Ophiuchus, the Babylonians decided to leave it out for the sake of neat division.

“The line from Earth through the sun points to Virgo for 45 days, but it points to Scorpius for only 7 days. To make a tidy match with their 12-month calendar, the Babylonians ignored the fact that the sun actually moves through 13 constellations, not 12. Then they assigned each of those 12 constellations equal amounts of time,” Nasa explains.

Since then, the Earth has also shifted on its axis and so the Sun points to different parts of the zodiac at different times.

"So, we didn’t change any zodiac signs…we just did the math," the space agency's blog post concluded.

The only important aspect of astrology is that enough people subscribe to it. People can stick with their existing star sign, or use the new one, and as long as astrologers are using the same system people will gain the same amount of insight, or lack thereof, into how the stars are affecting their lives.

While many have suggested that the space agency had made a breakthrough, or discovered the new constellation, Nasa has repeatedly disparaged astrology and would not desire to change star signs even if it had the power to, which it does not.

“No one has shown that astrology can be used to predict the future or describe what people are like based only on their birth date,” Nasa says.

“Still, like reading fantasy stories, many people enjoy reading their 'astrological forecast' or 'horoscope' in the newspaper every day”.

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