Zodiac signs are off by a month, expert says
Published Friday, January 14, 2011 7:18PM EST
Hey there, what's your sign? Are you sure about that?
It seems that many of us may not be the Leos or Geminis we thought we were, thanks to a wobble in the earth's axis. According to a report in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, all of the zodiac signs are off by about a month.
Your astrological sign can be determined by the position of the sun relative to certain constellations on the day you were born. But the astrological positions were calculated some 2,000 years ago.
The Star-Tribune spoke to Parke Kunkle, an astronomy professor at Minnesota Community and Technical College, and aboard member at the Minnesota Planetarium Society, who says that in the centuries since those calculations were made, the moon's gravitational pull has made the Earth "wobble" around its axis.
It's a well-known phenomenon called "precession." This "wobble" causes a change of one degree every 70 years in our view of the stars. The change is so small it is hardly noticeable, but after 2,000 years, it's added up.
While it's all a little complicated, the bottom line is there's been about a one-month bump in the alignment of the stars. And that's made a mess of astrology.
"When [astrologers] say that the sun is in Pisces, it's really not in Pisces," the Minnesota Planetarium Society Parke Kunkle told the newspaper.
According to Kunkle, there really should be a 13th sign, Ophiuchus. It seems the Babylonians who invented the zodiac skipped Ophiuchus because they wanted only 12 signs. Now that the Earth has rotated, here is apparently where the real signs of the zodiac should fall:
- 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. 22
- Scorpio: Nov. 23-29
- Ophiuchus: Nov. 29-Dec. 17
- Sagittarius: Dec. 17-Jan. 20
If you're a former Scorpio or Sagittarius who now finds yourself under Ophiuchus, here's what you need to know. The sign is based on the constellation of the same name said to represent the healer Asclepius, son of Apollo, holding two snakes.
Ophiuchus is thought to attract good luck and holds lofty ideals, while seeking peace and harmony. Those born under the Ophiuchus sign are said to be curious, passionate, with a thirst for knowledge and sometimes, an explosive temper.
The Star-Tribune story of the zodiac shake-up has spread around the Internet quickly, sending panic through the hearts of true astrology believers who have found themselves in an astrological identity crisis.
But some are insisting that if you're worried that you're no longer the fun-loving Libra you thought you were, and are really a perfectionist Virgo, be assured that nothing has changed.
That's because there are actually two zodiacs.
The form of astrology that calculates zodiac signs based on constellations -- called the sidereal zodiac -- is followed more in the East, not here in the West. Western astrology -- and, most likely, the horoscope writers in your local newspaper -- adhere to the tropical zodiac, which is fixed to seasons and the equinoxes.
According to the tropical zodiac, nothing has changed, the Earth's axis notwithstanding.
So keep being that great listener, Libra, and don't worry that you've morphed into a Virgo.