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Astrology fans, you’ve been reading the wrong star sign all this time

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It’s official: the stars are not aligned for October 2021. In fact, they’ve shifted – which means your horoscope might not be what you think it is, apparently. On top of that, NASA has added a brand new zodiac sign into the mix. So, have the dates shifted on your star sign? Read on to find out…

Updated on 1 October 2021: As we enter a new month of the year (and embrace autumn in all its glory), avid astrology fans have once again turned to the stars for guidance.

And, according to astrologers, October is going to be – somewhat fittingly, given that this is the spookiest month of all – packed to the brim with cosmic tricks. In fact, we’re going to get a whopping six planetary retrogrades at the same time: Mercury, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto.

“There may be a rocky road ahead – but we can get through this intensity, team,” explains Lisa Stardust via Oprah Daily

“Be gentle on yourselves and kind to others. As always, lead with compassion, sensitivity, and care.” 

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Thanks to the ongoing Mercury retrograde (which ends on 18 October), astrologers also predict chaos, particularly with regards to our communication with loved ones; think sending an email to the wrong person, or accidentally ‘liking’ an ex’s Instagram post, or missing an important call. As such, we should take some time to reflect on which relationships from the past we’d like to bring into the future.

This ties in nicely (or not, as the case may be) to the fact that Venus is set to enter Sagittarius on 7 October, which may leave you feeling feel stuck, unsupported, and lovesick. 

“My advice?” says Stardust. “Don’t make any impulsive decisions that day.”

 “It is at this point that you should take a moment to see what’s happened in the last two weeks and check in with your intentions”

Thankfully, the full ‘blood’ moon on 20 October should set us right, as it represents completion and fulfilment after all of that emotional turmoil.

As moonologist and bestselling author Yasmin Boland explains: “This is the peak time of the lunar cycle, and it is at this point that you should take a moment to see what’s happened in the last two weeks and check in with your intentions.”

Sounds brilliant, right? And yet…

Well, astrology, on the surface, may be based on the position of the sun relative to certain constellations – and it may be influenced by the movements of the sun, moon, planets and stars, too. However, is is absolutely not considered to be a ‘science’. Indeed, it’s been wholeheartedly rejected by the scientific community – with many pointing out that astrological predictions are too general, too unspecific to be subjected to scientific testing.

Despite this, there are many people who put great stock in what their horoscope says each morning. They carefully scan the pages of their morning newspaper, searching for their own zodiac sign, and drink in everything that the astrologer has written for them that day. Even after the thoroughly unpredictable events of the last 12 months!

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As reported on 24 July 2020: Even those of us who dismiss astrology as a load of absolute nonsense know which star sign we are. And we’ve probably read our horoscope (with a healthy dose of cynicism, of course) at least once. Or have we?

Because, as you’ve no doubt read already, it was recently revealed that everything we thought we knew about the zodiac was a lie. In fact, a massive 86% of us were actually born under a different constellation to our star sign, based on how the sky exists today… and it’s all to do with the “Earth’s wobble“.

NASA has added a brand-new 13th zodiac sign into the mix, too

Essentially, they reckon that the stars have shifted, we’ve been reading the wrong horoscope all this time, and there’s a new star sign – Ophiuchus – in the mix (more on that later).

However, astrologers have a word of warning to all those frantically casting the old zodiac aside.

Pauline Gerosa, the consultant astrologer behind Astrology Oracle, tells me: “Ophiuchus has always been one of the constellations that fall along the ecliptic. It just wasn’t selected by the ancient astrologers to be one of the 12 zodiac signs.”

When I ask her if NASA’s comments about shifting stars has any impact on the zodiac signs, Gerosa explains: “[The shift] is due to the precession of the equinoxes. The constellations have not shifted, the wobble of the earth’s axis creates the impression that they have. Eastern astrology (sidereal) reads the planets against the current view of the constellations. Western astrology (tropical) sticks with the unchanging positions and accounts for the apparent shift via the great ages (around 2,500 years in each sign). Hence the move from Age of Pisces to the Age of Aquarius.”

“It’s important to remember that astrology is NOT astronomy,” she adds. “Astronomy is a scientific concept based on 3D material reality. Astrology is a symbolic language, a philosophy, a multidimensional concept. They used to be seen as two sides of the same coin and hopefully they will be again.”

As reported in 2016: If Gerosa’s words haven’t stopped you from struggling to make sense of NASA’s bombshell, don’t despair: it’s all very simple when you break it down.

Essentially, the date that fixes our star sign corresponds to the position of the Sun relative to constellations of stars appearing behind the Sun on our birth date.

The position of the Sun as it’s perceived from the revolving Earth passes through the constellations that formed the zodiac - Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius and Pisces. Zodiac signs were originally determined by which constellation the Sun was ‘in’ on the day we were born. But in the more than 3000 years since our zodiac system was invented, constellations have drifted and the sky has changed.

So while we might consider ourselves to be a well-balanced Libra, or a headstrong Aries, or a “total Gemini”, that is most likely not the case. On the other hand, all of those who feel as if they just don’t connect with their own horoscope (we’re thinking of you, Scorpios), then this could be very good news indeed.

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Even stranger, however, is the fact that NASA has added a brand-new 13th zodiac sign into the mix: Ophiuchus.

“The constellations are different sizes and shapes, so the Sun spends different lengths of time lined up with each one,” a spokesperson explained.

“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. Besides the 12 familiar constellations of the zodiac, the Sun is also aligned with Ophiuchus for about 18 days each year.”

The constellation, which comes from Greek words meaning “serpent bearing” is commonly represented by a man wrestling a snake.

Unsurprisingly, Ophiuchus shares many of the same characteristics as Sagittarius, and people with its sign are described as healers and light-bearers.

However, astrologers have a word of caution for all those assuming their star sign has changed.

Here are the correct dates for the star signs:

  • Capricorn: Jan 20 - Feb 16
  • Aquarius: Feb 16 – March 11
  • Pisces: March 11 – April 18
  • Aries: April 18 – May 13
  • Taurus: May 13 – June 21
  • Gemini: June 21 – July 20
  • Cancer: July 20 – Aug 10
  • Leo: Aug 10 – Sept 16
  • Virgo: Sept 16 – Oct 30
  • Libra: Oct 30 – Nov 23
  • Scorpio: Nov 23 – Nov 29
  • Ophiuchus: Nov 29 – Dec 17
  • Sagittarius: Dec 17 – Jan 20

The BBC previously speculated that ancient astrologers perhaps ignored Ophiuchus because they wanted to chart the 360 degree path of the Sun in a mathematically pleasing way of 12 equal parts, each one of 30 degrees. Whatever the reason, the unfamiliar constellation represents a man wrestling a serpent, dividing the snake’s body in two parts.

As such, Ophiuchus is considered a healer of men, a doctor of medicine, or a scientist who seeks higher education and enlightenment.  He’s also an interpreter of dreams, favoured by his father and other authority figures, and expected to achieve a high position in life.

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If you’re still not sure that your personality fits your new star sign, of course, it doesn’t matter too much; after all, there’s nobody to stop you reading your old horoscope.

As NASA themselves explain, 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.”

They add that the zodiac is “not science” and that it simply offers comfort in a similar manner to “reading fantasy stories”. 

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Images: Getty/Anastasia Dulgier/Unsplash/iStock

This article was originally published in 2016, but has been updated throughout to ensure all information is correct.

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Kayleigh Dray

Kayleigh Dray is Stylist’s digital editor-at-large. Her specialist topics include comic books, films, TV and feminism. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends.

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The astronomy behind astrology

  • Do you know that what you consider to be your zodiac sign, might not be correct?

  • Do you know that since the invention of the zodiac system more than 3000 years ago, the sky has actually changed and the traditional zodiac signs do not correspond to the actual ones?

In this page, I try to give a scientific explanation to these questions and on the way, let you discover your real zodiac sign. I start by introducing some astronomical concepts which I hope will give you some insight about the geometry and the physics of the rotation of the Earth around the Sun and the apparent movement of the objects on the sky.

I like to point out that the main purpose of this page is to show the astronomical facts behind what we call zodiac signs, and I just did it for fun! (after all, being an astronomer I am always asked about other people's horoscopes!). It is not my intention to discuss in depth the validity of astrology or its predictions, however I give my personal opinion as an astronomer, if you're interested.

Introduction

The zodiac and astrology are common concepts among many countries in the Western civilization. Surveys show that around 90% of the population know their zodiac sign, and almost half read their horoscopes regularly. Astrology columns help to sell millions of newspapers and magazines; and are a popular topic in television and radio programs. Although only a small percentage actually admit to take horoscopes seriously, the vast majority of the people do not know the astronomical concepts behind their birth sign.

Astrology originated in Mesopotamia around 3000 years ago. The ancient Babylonians performed methodical observations of the night sky and built great observatories where priests would study the skies, and the celestial bodies that they believed controlled life and events on Earth. In those times, objects in the sky were believed to be affixed to transparent celestial spheres and their motions were thought to be a result of the motion of these spheres as they revolved around the Earth. Groups of bright stars were observed to form prominent patterns in the night sky called constellations, which have been historically ascribed to mythological figures. The early astronomers recognized that constellations appeared and disappeared with the change of the seasons throughout the course of a year. In the same way, the Sun, Moon and planets were observed to move in relation to the fixed background of stars, or constellations. The Earth travels in space as it revolves about the Sun in a planar orbit that is approximately circular. If one drew a line from the center of the Earth through the center of the Sun, that line would "draw" a large plane in the heavens as the Earth orbits the Sun. This large plane is called the ecliptic plane, as is shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1
The ecliptic plane and the ecliptical coordinate system

Figure 2
The equatorial plane, the annual seasons and the equinoxes

Figure 3
The band of the zodiac and the apparent position of the constellations with respect to the Earth-Sun system

Based on their observations of the night sky, ancient astronomers determined that during the daytime, the Sun would appear to "enter" or pass through different constellations throughout the year. Because of their perspective from Earth, they observed that the Sun, the Moon and all the planets visible with the naked eye seemed to pass in the course of a year through a region in the sky occupied by twelve specific constellations. Those constellations are the ones that we would intersect if we extend the ecliptic plane out into space. These twelve constellations were called the Zodiac. Many ancient people believed that a person's behavior, emotions, and fate were heavily influenced by the time of that person's birth i.e. that person's zodiac sign.

The zodiac constellations, as envisioned by ancient astronomers, were ascribed specific patterns that resemble the shapes of animals and human beings. The constellations of the zodiac actually form an imaginary belt in the sky that extends about eight degrees above and below the ecliptic plane as is shown. As we look at the position of the zodiac constellations at any given time of the year, the Sun is between the Earth and one of these constellations, as Figure 3 shows.

Vernal and autumnal equinoxes

We are familiar with the Earth's equator because of our knowledge of geography. If we could extend the earth's equator into space so that it could be viewed against the background of stars, we would be able to see what in astronomy is called the celestial equator. Because the Earth's axis of rotation is tilted with respect to the ecliptic by 23.5∫, the celestial equator and the ecliptic do not lie on the same plane, but cross each other at an angle of 23.5 degrees as is shown in Figure 2. The two points in the sky where these two planes cross are called the equinoxes. We call the vernal equinox the intersection point where the Sun, in its apparent motion against the background stars along the ecliptic, crosses the celestial equator from south to north, usually occurring around March 21st. Similarly, we call the autumnal equinox the intersection point where the Sun, in its apparent motion against the background stars along the ecliptic, crosses the celestial equator from north to south, usually occurring around September 21st. The first day of Spring then corresponds to the vernal equinox and the first day of Fall corresponds to the autumnal equinox. During the time of the equinoxes, we on the Earth experience twelve hours of day and twelve hours of night.

The precession of the equinox

Figure 4
The precession of the Earth around its axis

The Earth's rotation on its axis has caused the Earth's shape to diverge from a sphere, and has caused the Earth's equatorial regions to bulge out. Because the Earth's equator is tilted with respect to the orbital plane of the Earth around the Sun, the Earth's equatorial bulge is also tilted with respect to the plane along which the Sun and Moon travel. The Moon and the Sun exert a gravitational drag on the Earth's equatorial bulge, trying to pull the Earth's equatorial region to be aligned with the ecliptic plane. This pull, along with the rotational motion of the Earth on its axis, the revolution of the Earth around the Sun, and the revolution of the Moon about the Earth, cause the Earth to wobble about its axis of rotation, similar to the motion of a spinning top. This motion is called precession. It is the wobbling of the equatorial plane that causes the line of the intersection of the equatorial and ecliptic planes to move. As mentioned above, the intersection of these two planes determine where on the zodiac our spring and fall equinoxes occur. This line of intersection is said to precess or move around the zodiac because of the wobble.

Figure 5
Circular path that the north equatorial pole describes due to the precession of the Earth

Figure 4 shows a schematic of the Earth's precession, this effect gradually changes where on the zodiac the equinox points fall. It takes about 2150 years for the equinox to travel 30∫ or 1/12th of the ecliptic. This precession means that the spring equinox was just entering Pisces 2000 years ago and it is about to enter the constellation of Aquarius (that is the reason why many astrologers say that we are going to start the Aquarius epoch).

An extension of the Earth's axis out into space traces out a conical figure with a time cycle or period of 26,000 years. The Earth's precession implies that although Polaris is currently the star above our north pole, in about 13,000 years Vega will become our north star; only after yet another 13,000 years, will the north pole will once again point towards Polaris, as shown in Figure 5. Therefore, because of the Earth's precession, the constellation which is behind the Sun nowadays is actually different from the one predicted by astrologers.





Ophiuchus, the 13th constellation of the zodiac

The constellations of the zodiac at the present

Unlike the zodiac signs in astrology, the astronomical constellations vary widely in size. If we think of the sky as a great sphere, the areas that different constellations cover can be drawn fairly accurately. There are a number of days of the Earth's orbit when the Sun is between our planet and any one of the zodiacal constellations. Since each constellation is of different size and since the ecliptic passes through larger or smaller portions of each constellation, and the speed of the Earth around the Sun varies along its orbit, the Sun is between the Earth and each zodiacal constellation for varying periods. For example, more days (44 days) are spent with the Sun between the Earth and the largest constellation, Virgo, than are spent with the Sun between the Earth and the smallest constellation, Scorpius (7 days).

The boundaries of all the constellations in the sky were set by the International Astronomical Union (IAU) in 1930. This was essentially a mapping exercise to make the work of astronomers more efficient. 2000 years ago, there were 12 constellations in our zodiac. At present our ecliptic passes through the boundaries of 13 constellations, the usual 12 and a new one known as Ophiuchus (or Serpentarius). Ophiuchus is depicted as a man supporting a serpent, the interposition of his body divides the snake into two parts, Serpens Caput and Serpens Cauda. Ophiuchus, is located in a position near the center of the Milky Way galaxy amid clouds of molecular hydrogen and dust. In addition, although not part of the original constellation stars, the so-called Barnard's Star is located within Ophiuchus; this object has the largest known proper motion relative to the Sun. Just as a remark, within a few hundred years the ecliptic will no longer pass through Scorpius but will also include the constellation of Orion.

Most astrologers use a different system to determine the size of our zodiacal constellations. The ecliptic (which is also the name to the apparent path of the Sun on the sky, which creates a circle of 360∫) is simply divided up into twelve equal segments (of 30∫) corresponding to the same amount of months in the calendar, just by convenience, marking the start of the year cycle at the so-called first point of Aries, i.e. the point on the sky where the ecliptic and equatorial planes intersect, i.e. the vernal equinox. This point occurred 2000 years ago in the constellation of Aries, but nowadays this occurs in the constellation of Piscis, making this constellation the start-point of the current zodiac solar system.

Your REAL zodiac sign

The following table provides the dates at which the Sun is located within the boundaries of a specific zodiac constellation as defined in 1930 by the International Astronomical Union, i.e. the periods of the real zodiac signs.

The dates can vary by as much as 2 days from year to year, depending on the cycle of leap years. The solar zodiac column indicates the actual dates when the Sun is located within the boundaries of the named constellation. If you are on the boundary between any two signs and you want to know your real sign (together with your ascendent and descendent signs, defined below), use the free software called Stellarium indicating the date, time and location of birth and it will give you a nice sky chart of your birthday through a nice interface.

The ascendent and descendent signs

The ascendent sign constellation correspond to the position on the sky in which the ecliptic intercepts the horizon on the east at the local time and place of birth. At this point, there is a zodiac sign on the sky which is just rising from the horizon. Due to the Earth's rotation, approximately every 4 minutes any object on the zodiac belt would elevate 1 degree from the horizon; hence the ascendent sign changes during the course of the day. On the other hand, on the west horizon, the constellation which is setting below the horizon at the time of birth constitutes the descendant sign. Therefore, in order to find the ascendant and descendant signs, one needs to know the precise local time and location (geographical latitude, longitude and even altitude) of birth. Just as a remark, the ascendent and descendent signs have no astronomical meaning or importance whatsoever.

Sours: https://www.inaoep.mx/~frosales/html/zodiac/index.html
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Fact Check-False posts about NASA changing the zodiac resurface

Posts sharing the claim that NASA changed the zodiac to include a 13th astrological sign are false. NASA addressed the claim on its Twitter page, explaining that it did not change zodiac itself but included a sign that has been left out since Babylonian times.

Example posts can be seen here and here .

The text on one post reads: “Apparently NASA did some research and said they have been reading the zodiac signs incorrectly and these are the correct dates anyone heard about this??”

The image in the posts features shifted dates for the existing astrological signs and includes a new one called “Ophiuchus” for the dates of Nov. 29 to Dec. 17.

NASA’S EXPLANATION

NASA explained in a tweet posted on July 16, 2020 here , that it did not change the zodiac. The tweet reads: “We see your comments about a zodiac story that re-emerges every few years. No, we did not change the zodiac. When the Babylonians invented the constellations 3,000 years ago, they chose to leave out a 13th sign. So, we did the math.”

The tweet links to a NASA Tumblr page here , where it explains the story in more depth and points out the difference between astronomy, which is “the scientific study of everything in outer space”, and astrology, “the belief that the positions of stars and planets can influence human events.”

The page also explains that the Babylonians, who lived over 3,000 years ago, divided the zodiac into 12 parts and chose a constellations for each one, corresponding with 12 months of the calendar.

“But even according to the Babylonians’ own ancient stories, there were 13 constellations in the zodiac. So they picked one, Ophiuchus, to leave out. Even then, some of the chosen 12 didn’t fit neatly into their assigned slice of the pie and crossed over into the next one.”

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR ASTROLOGY BELIEVERS?

Astrology believers questioning whether their signs have now shifted can rest at ease. Reuters reached out to astrologers to find out if Ophiuchus resulted in people’s star signs shifting, the primary apparent concern among comments on these social media posts.

“As an astrologer, I can assure you that your zodiac sign didn't change,” assured Nina Kahn, author and astrologer (www.ninakahn.com/about). She told Reuters via email, “Ophiuchus is a real constellation, but it's not a zodiac sign. As you may know, there are many constellations in the sky, but not all of them are included in the zodiac.”

Rebecca Gordon, professional astrologer (here), reiterated that while Ophiuchus is a constellation, this does not make it a zodiac sign. She told Reuters in a statement that Ophiuchus has nothing to do with the 12 zodiac signs that have been in use "for thousands of years to create an accurate calendar which aligns us with the natural cycles and Sun's apparent path.”

Echoing NASA’s point, Kahn added, “Astronomy and astrology are two very different things!”

Further reading on the topic can be found here , here , here , here .

VERDICT

Misleading. NASA did not change the zodiac to shift dates and add another astrological sign.

This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our fact-checking work  here  .         

Sours: https://www.reuters.com/article/factcheck-nasa-zodiac-idUSL2N2NF2AW
Is Ophiuchus a SIGN?! Did YOUR ZODIAC SIGN CHANGE?!!?

Your life is a lie: The zodiac has changed — here's your (new?) sign

This news may be especially hard to hear for Libras, who crave balance and order. Or Leos, whose sense of self is strong. Geminis, both sides of you may be rocked.

Are you sitting down? Good. Because the zodiac has changed. What you long believed was your astrological sign may not be your astrological sign.

And, a bunch of us now have wack tattoos.

The dates for the Western zodiac calendar have, it turns out, shifted, with each one starting later — like, a lot later. If you were a Capricorn born in early to mid-January, you're now a Sagittarius.

Cancers born in early to mid-July? Stop being such emotional cry-babies. You're actually Geminis.

Oh, and there's a new 13th astrological sign now: Ophiuchus. Sounds like a "Matrix" character, we know. But those of you born between Nov. 29 to Dec. 17, you're all now Ophiuchus-es.

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NASA broke the news early this year in a blog post that explained that when ancient Babylonians created the zodiac over 3,000 years ago, they wanted dates on the calendar to correspond with star constellations. But, there were 13 constellations, and they were working with a 12-month calendar. So they ditched Ophiuchus.

NASA also pointed out that the Earth's axis doesn't even point in the same direction as it did when the original constellations were drawn, so all our signs have different date ranges now anyway.

In other words: astrological chaos. And the science nerds at NASA don't even care that they've upended our lives. They released a statement last week explaining, "Here at NASA, we study astronomy, not astrology. We didn’t change any zodiac signs, we just did the math.”

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Here are the brand-new astrological dates and signs, if you can bear to look.

Capricorn: Jan. 20 to Feb. 16

Aquarius: Feb. 16 to March 11

Pisces: March 11 to April 18

Aries: April 18 to May 13

Taurus: May 13 to June 21

Gemini: June 21 to July 20

Cancer: July 20 to Aug. 10

Leo: Aug. 10 to Sept. 16

Virgo: Sept. 16 to Oct. 30

Libra: Oct. 30 to Nov. 23

Scorpio: Nov. 23 to Nov. 29

Ophiuchus: Nov. 29 to Dec. 17

Sagittarius: Dec. 17 to Jan. 20

Sours: https://www.today.com/popculture/your-life-lie-zodiac-has-changed-here-s-your-new-t103295

Change birth sign

New 13th Zodiac symbol means your star sign isn't what you think it is

Proud of being a passionate Leo, an adventurous Sagittarius or a perfectionist Virgo?

Well, according to NASA experts and some astrologers, your star sign is no longer what you think it is.

After NASA’s discovery of a new constellation, a NASA blog post stated that there are now actually 13 Zodiac signs, not 12 - thus putting the entire astrological chart out of whack.

The 13th Zodiac sign is called Ophiuchus and it’s the star sign for people born between November 29 and December 17.

That, of course, has a knock-on effect for every other sign, meaning the traits and personalities associated with each star sign may no longer be applicable to you.

“According to the Babylonians’ own ancient stories, there were 13 constellations in the zodiac,” the NASA blog post explains.

“So the Babylonians picked one, Ophiuchus, to leave out.

“Even then, some of the chosen 12 didn’t fit neatly into their assigned slice of the pie and slopped over into the next one.

“What’s more, the Earth’s axis has also altered since the Zodiac signs were coined - meaning all the constellations are now in slightly different places in the sky.

“The sky has shifted because Earth’s axis (North Pole) doesn’t point in quite the same direction.”

The 13th constellation, Ophiuchus, is symbolised by a man with a snake. On a Zodiac wheel, it would sit between Sagittarius and Scorpio.

Those born under this sign are said to have a great sense of humour, eagerness to learn, and a strong attachment to family life.

What are the new dates?

  • Capricorn: January 20th to February 16th
  • Aquarius: February 16th to March 11th
  • Pisces: March 11th to April 18th
  • Aries: April 18th to May 13th
  • Taurus: May 13th to June 21st
  • Gemini: June 21st to July 20th
  • CancerJuly 20th to August 10th
  • Leo: August 10th to September 16th
  • Virgo: September 16th to October 30th
  • Libra: October 30th to November 23rd
  • Scorpio: November 23rd to November 29th
  • Ophiuchus: November 29th to December 17th
  • Sagittarius: December 17th to January 20th

It’s an astrology student’s nightmare, especially if you’ve spent your entire life reading, say, Virgo horoscopes and thinking, “Yes, this is me to a tee!”

Time to start getting acquainted with your new sign.

Sours: https://7news.com.au/technology/space/new-13th-zodiac-symbol-means-your-star-sign-isnt-what-you-think-it-is-c-1171483
The Most Popular Zodiac Signs Ranked. Where Do Yours Rank?

Every six months or so, the internet promptly panics when yet another story about “Ophiuchus, the 13th zodiac sign” goes viral. Apparently, the viral story goes, NASA has just discovered a 13th zodiac sign, and the other 12 zodiac signs have had to shift their dates to make room, changing everyone on Earth’s zodiac sign in the process. Sounds chaotic, right?

Sorry, but, um, this isn’t a thing. We’re here to tell you to calm down—you’re still a Cancer or a Pisces or an Aries or whatever. This viral story has been popping up here and there since the 1970s—yep, pre-internet!and every time, it’s been debunked. But even in 2021, stories about “Ophiuchus” still keep resurfacing. So let’s talk about it.

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According to Snopes, these stories have been circulating online since at least as far back as 2002 via various chain letters and viral blog posts. A flurry of headlines were published in early 2016 after NASA published a (since-deleted) blog post on its children’s site, Space Place, showing where Ophiuchus would fall in the zodiac if astrologers decided to include it, while acknowledging that, well, they didn’t. More recently, USA Today traced some 2020 headlines about the “13th zodiac sign” back to a viral Facebook post from a Virginia-based radio station.

Although Ophiuchus is not part of the zodiac, there is a teeny-tiny bit of truth in these viral stories: Ophiuchus is a constellation (although not a “new” one), and the appearance of the constellations in the sky has changed over time. But this is undeniably astronomy, not astrology, and it doesn’t affect your zodiac sign.

First, the Ophiuchus constellation isn’t new. In fact, we’ve known about it for thousands of years—according to The Guardian, the first recorded mention of Ophiuchus came in 300 BC. It’s always been a part of the Sun’s path in the sky (called the ecliptic), but it’s largely been left out of astrology.

The origins of the zodiac go back approximately 2,500 years when the Babylonians separated the sky into 12 different sections. They studied an apparent relationship between the constellations’ placements in the sky and the movement of the Sun, and thus, the 12 signs were born. They saw the constellation of Ophiuchus, too, but since it didn’t fit neatly into one of these 12 slices, they decided to leave it out of the zodiac—along with dozens of other constellations.So, no, scientists didn’t “just discover it.”

However, the Earth’s wobbly axis means none of the constellations are in the same place they were all those years ago, from our POV on Earth looking up at the sky. That, along with the sheer existence of this not-new constellation, means some people argue that the astrological signs we’ve all come to know and love have altered. (These people are not astrologers.)

Even though Ophiuchus is undoubtedly an observed constellation (located northwest of the center of the Milky Way, in case you were curious), could it have the chance to be an actual member of the zodiac? Well, astronomers won’t comment on that part, considering astrology is not science, and astrologers aren’t buying that our signs have shifted.

Below is all the info you need to know about the Ophiuchus constellation.

It’s associated with Asclepius, the famous healer in Greek mythology.

Ophiuchus was named as a mixture of two Greek words—“serpent” and “bearing.” So it’s no surprise that the face of the constellation is commonly Asclepius, the god of medicine in ancient Greek mythology, who holds a staff with a serpent wrapped around it (which, fun fact, is also the well-known symbol of the World Health Organization).

Ophiuchus is depicted as an image of exactly what you might expect: a large, powerful man holding a large snake represented by Serpens, a neighboring constellation, which is usually coiled around his waist. Because of this, Ophiuchus is sometimes also called Serpentarius.

Prominent figures in astrology don’t believe Ophiuchus changes anything.

“There are a lot of constellations—88, if you want to get right down to it—so I’m not sure why everyone’s up in arms about this one,” Susan Miller told Elle back in 2011 (yeah, 10 years ago). “The ancients discussed whether or not to include a 13th sign—they debated, they did empirical studies, and in the end, they felt it was not significant. Remember, they invented astrology and we have to go with what they gave us.”

The AstroTwins pointed out the same thing NASA did in the original report: “Astronomy and astrology are NOT one and the same.” While everyone can agree that the constellations have shifted in relation to the Earth over time, the zodiac sign you’ve always identified with is based on a Western astrological system, not the actual constellation.

Astrologer Rick Levine clarified to DailyHoroscope.com, “Ophiuchus has nothing to do with astrology. It’s not an astrology issue. It has to do with the stars—it’s not a sign, it’s a constellation.”

In other words, Western astrology is based on zodiac signs, not the actual constellations. And practitioners of sidereal/Vedic astrology, which is more closely aligned with the constellations, don’t include this “13th sign” either. As Astrologically magazine puts it: “It should be noted that even in sidereal/Vedic astrology, Ophiuchus is still regarded with skepticism and may be left out of horoscopes and natal chart readings.”

Constellational astrologers, who focus entirely on constellations, not signs, might include the constellation of Ophiuchus. However, this is a very small subset of astrologers. Astrologically explains, “Constellational astrology is not widely recognized or practiced by esteemed astrologers.”


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If you’re wondering what your sign would be if astrologers did include Ophiuchus, Marie Claire UK has the list.

Here we go:

  • Capricorn: January 20 to February 16
  • Aquarius: February 16 to March 11
  • Pisces: March 11 to April 18
  • Aries: April 18 to May 13
  • Taurus: May 13 to June 21
  • Gemini: June 21 to July 20
  • Cancer: July 20 to August 10
  • Leo: August 10 to September 16
  • Virgo: September 16 to October 30
  • Libra: October 30 to November 23
  • Scorpio: November 23 to November 29
  • Ophiuchus: November 29 to December 17
  • Sagittarius: December 17 to January 20

JSYK, though, other sources list different dates for the “13 signs,” and you won’t find any astrologers backing up these dates anyway. For example, in 2020, the Daily Express listed the dates for Ophiuchus as November 29 to December 27.

If you believe you are now an Ophiuchus, which, btw, is pronounced oaf-ih-YOU-kus, you’re a serpent bearer.

According to a website called Zodiac Books, qualities of an Ophiuchus are:

“House Ophiuchus represented unity. Its people were spirited, magnetic, impulsive, clever, flamboyant, and at times jealous, power-hungry, and temperamental. At their hearts, they were healers who hoped to one day rid the zodiac of every ill—disease, violence, etc.—and bring everyone closer together.

“Ophiuchans had a natural affinity for snakes, and there was a special species of serpent, the Zawinder, with whom their House’s Zodai developed a psychic connection. Each Zodai would capture and adopt his own Zawinder, which they would then use to spread messages to others in the swamp.”

Also, upon entering their teenage years, Ophiuchans also develop scaly skin to protect them from other creatures that may bite. Cool, huh?

If you think you’re an Ophiuchus now, well, okay! Just don’t expect any astrologers to agree with you. To them (and us), you’re still a Sagittarius, bb. But isn’t a centaur archer that’s actually in the zodiac much cooler than a man holding a snake anyway?

Tess KomanDigital DirectorTess Koman covers breaking (food) news, opinion pieces, and features on larger happenings in the food world.

Mili GodioMili is a Cosmopolitan intern who loves all things fashion, beauty, and pop culture.

Erika W. SmithSenior Astrology EditorAs Cosmopolitan's Senior Astrology Editor, Erika works with the Cosmo(s) Council members to help you decode your birth chart and prepare for every Mercury Retrograde.

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Sours: https://www.cosmopolitan.com/lifestyle/a3614109/everything-you-need-to-know-about-13th-zodiac-sign-constellation-ophiucus/

Now discussing:

NASA Elegantly Shuts Down Those New Zodiac Star Theories

A new story about an old misunderstanding is once again circulating—and NASA is once again setting the record straight.

It all started with a resurfaced story NASA “discovered” a 13th zodiac sign—Ophiuchus, or the serpent-bearer. Anyone born between November 29 and December 17 would no longer be a Scorpio or a Sagittarius, but an Ophiuchus. Scorpio’s window would be cut to just seven days and the entire astrology chart would shift, meaning some Pisces and Leos and Libras would have different star signs. As astrology lovers online started to panic, NASA gently waded into the online fray to set the record straight.

“We see your comments about a zodiac story that re-emerges every few years,” the space agency wrote in a tweet. “No, we did not change the zodiac.” It includes a link to a Tumblr post that explains what actually happened.

In a blog post, NASA patiently explains the difference between astronomy (“the scientific study of everything in space”) and astrology (“[i]t’s not considered a science”). NASA then notes that the zodiac signs are simply constellations that are in line with the Earth and the Sun as the planet follows its orbit. Earth actually travels through 13 signs, including Capricorn, Aries, and, yes, Ophiuchus, but some 3,000 years ago the Babylonians—not NASA—decided 12 was neater than 13, so excluded the 13th zodiac sign and divided the zodiac into 12 parts based on the 12 months of their calendar, according to NASA.

“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 in their post.

Back in 2011, as TIME reported, astronomers from the Minnesota Planetarium Society found that because of the moon’s gravitational pull on Earth, the alignment of the stars has shifted, 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 concludes.

That post was originally written in 2016, but as the story of a shifting zodiac circulates once again, NASA has retweeted it again.

While the Tumblr post it linked too is fairly straight forward, the staid space agency gets a little spicier in its take on astronomy on its early education site. “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 writes on their children’s site. “Still, like reading fantasy stories, many people enjoy reading their ‘astrological forecast’ or ‘horoscope’ in the newspaper every day.”

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