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Has Your Horoscope Changed?

January 13, 2010

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Counting on your horoscope to tell you what’s going to happen in the coming weeks, months or years? You may have to think again. According to astronomers, thanks to the Earth’s wobble, astrological signs as we know them are, well, totally bunk.


Astrology 101

Astrological signs are based on the position of the sun relative to certain constellations on a person's day of birth. The problem is the positions were determined more than 2,000 years ago! Since then, the stars have shifted in the night sky so much that horoscope signs are nearly a month off!


Traditional Astrological ChartTraditional Astrological Chart

Shifty Business

The shift is caused by something called precession, which is the wobble in the Earth's axis caused by the gravitational attraction of the moon to our equator. Basically, what this means is that, while astrology - which is what determines your astrological sign and horoscope - tell us that the sun is in one position, astronomy - which is the scientific study of stars and planets - tells us it’s in another position.


PrecessionPrecession

Astronomy 101

Here's what astronomers (the scientific dudes) know: the Earth is like a wobbly top. As it spins, its axis swings in a circle, pointing in different directions. As the Earth's position shifts, so does our perspective of the night sky.


Shifting of the North StarShifting of the North Star

Let’s take the good ol’ North Star - called Polaris - as an example. It's the star that’s CURRENTLY most closely aligned with Earth's [kwlink ]North Pole[/kwlink]. But back when the pyramids were being built in Egypt, thousands and thousands of years ago, the star that aligned with the North Pole wasn't Polaris at all, but a star in the constellation Draco called Thuban. And, 12,000 more years from now, Earth's North Star will be Vega, the brightest star in the constellation Lyra!


Seeing Stars

Basically, this means everything in space, including the stars, is always shifting and on the move – nothing stays fixed in a permanent spot. Since the stars move around, so do the dates for the different astrological signs. According to astronomers, the “real” dates of astrological signs are:

  • Capricorn: Jan 20-Feb 16
  • Aquarius: Feb 16-Mar 11
  • Pisces: Mar 11-Apr 18
  • Aries: Apr 18-May 13
  • Taurus: May 13-Jun 21
  • Gemini: Jun 21-Jul 20
  • Cancer: Jul 20-Aug 10
  • Leo: Aug 10-Sep 16
  • Virgo: Sep 16-Oct 30
  • Libra: Oct 30-Nov 23
  • Scorpio: Nov 23-Nov 29
  • Ophiuchus: Nov 29-Dec 17
  • Sagittarius: Dec 17-Jan 20

Opi-wha?

OphiuchusOphiuchus

Yup, it’s a 13th sign, called Ophiuchus (the serpent bearer) - a formation the ancient Babylonians left out of the horoscope because they wanted 12 star signs, not 13! The serpent bearer is usually represented as a man holding a snake.


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Has Your Horoscope Changed?