Fact Check on New Zodiac Sign
The new zodiac sign known as Ophiuchus [oh-FEW-cuss] is rumored to be a new addition to the horoscope calendar. The new sign would affect people with birthdays from November 29 to December 17, as it would disrupt the order of current zodiac signs. In order to understand the supposed change, here’s some background information of why Ophiuchus can be included.
There are actually 13 constellations as opposed to just the 12 that many people are familiar with. The sun passes through thirteen constellations as the Earth orbits around it. According to the Washington Post, over 3,000 years ago, ancient Babylonian astrologers only had 12 calendar months to work with when creating the zodiac, and the constellations did not translate perfectly into the rotation of a Gregorian calendar. The Babylonians also viewed the patterns in the constellations as the animal symbols we know and connect with each sign today.
The talk of creating a new astrological sign for the Ophiuchus began in 2002 and was even commented on by NASA back in 2011. It recently became a popular topic on social media when Twitter user @krystalsoboojee posted a photo of the TIME Magazine article announcing the unexpected change.
Cosmopolitan UK also published an article about the change and the topic received lots of negative opinions and feedback. Many horoscope enthusiasts who have their zodiac sign tattooed on themselves refused to believe in the possibility of a new sign.
While there was recent speculation that NASA had something to do with the change, NASA stated on their official Tumblr page that they study “astronomy, not astrology,” according to NBC Chicago. There is no change in the zodiac signs; the agency was only stating that the sun’s constellations do not match up with the original Babylonian calendar.
Snopes, a website that covers urban legends and Internet rumors, mentions that leading astrological experts say this will not change things at all. The site explains that Western astrology is strictly attached to the tropical zodiac, which is fixed to seasons. The one to change is the sidereal zodiac, which is observed in the East and is fixed to constellations. The tropical zodiac has been in place since Ptolemy's time in the second century.
"Astrology is geocentric," astrologer Jeff Jawer said. "It relates life on Earth to the Earth's environment, and seasons are the most dramatic effect, which is why we use the tropical zodiac."
So don’t worry, your sign is safe. There won’t be any zodiac sign changes any time soon.