This story recycles every few years so it’s important to clear up whether there is a 13th sign, shifted star alignments, and if we’re still the Sun sign we think we are…here are the facts from NASA and what you need to know!
Back in 2016, a story circulated throughout media that NASA had discovered a 13th zodiac sign named Ophiuchus and was changing astrology and the zodiac as we know it. This wasn’t quite the true story, and when it broke, NASA had to defend itself, tweeting, “no, we did not change the zodiac,” and the space agency then went on to explain the real science.
First of all, the ancient Babylonians of Mesopotamia, the inventors of Western astrology, were actually aware of Ophiuchus, according to NASA.
The problem was, that twofold. First, with a 13th sign, Ophiuchus, not only with the entire astrology chart shift, but the length of Scorpio would be reduced to only 7 days.
In a blog post, NASA first explained that astronomy is science (“the scientific study of everything in space”) and astrology (is not considered a science”), TIME reported. NASA noted that zodiac signs are simply consolations that are in line with the earth and the sun as the planet follows its orbit. Further, NASA wrote that Earth does actually travel through 13 signs.
Secondly, NASA said, that some 3,000 years ago, it was the Babylonians who decided it was mathematically neater and more even to divide that zodiac into twelve parts based on the 12 month calendar. Therefore, the Babylonians, not NASA, decided to exclude the 13th zodiac sign.
“The line from Earth through the sun points to Virgo for 45 days, but it points to Scorpius for only 7 days,” NASA explained in their blog post. “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.”
The answer to this question is: YES. But hardly anyone in Western astrology is actually following the real-world changes. Most astrologers continue to hold fast to the long-held system.
In 2011, astronomers from the Minnesota Planetarium Society discovered that the alignment of the stars had changed. This was due to the moon’s gravitational pull on Earth.
Because of this shift, the Sun points to different parts of the zodiac at different times.
The astronomers found that the alignment of the stars was pushed by about a month, TIME reported in 2011.
“When [astrologers] say that the sun is in Pisces, it’s really not in Pisces,” said Parke Kunkle, a member of the board of the Minnesota Planetarium Society. “Your astrological sign is determined by the position of the sun on the day you were born, so that means everything you thought you knew about your horoscope is wrong.”
Get ready to have your world shaken. Although very few in astrology are actually following these new dates, according to the Minnesota Planetarium Society, if we were being truly accurate with the signs of the zodiac and where they should fall according to astronomy, we would indeed be accounting for 13 signs and the following would be the real dates:
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. 23-29.
Ophiuchus: Nov. 29-Dec. 17.
Sagittarius: Dec. 17-Jan. 20.