Earth's rotation causes new zodiac sign assignments


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IF you’re a regular follower of astrology you should know that your horoscope could well be 2000 years out of date. The star signs we are used to are based on constellations observed by the ancient Babylonians two millennia ago. And according to some astronomers the astrological calendar has moved on – potentially by as much as a whole month.

191003-zodiacThe debate has created a storm on the internet after Minnesota Planetarium Society board member Professor Parke Kunkle pointed out the potential problem. “When [astrologers] say that the sun is in Pisces, it’s really not in Pisces,” he said.

Professor Kunkle says the phenomenon is the result of something called “precession” caused by the wobble of the Earth affecting how we see the distinctive patterns in the night sky.

Sydney University’s Professor Tim Bedding said the Earth rotates on its axis but the axis does not point in the same direction all the time. “What that means is that the time of year in which a sun passes through a constellation changes,” Professor Bedding said.

This action causes a change of one degree every 70 years in our viewpoint and while this is so small it is hardly noticeable after 2000 years it all starts to add up, he said. We now see the star signs in different positions to when they were first observed.

Astrologers have hit back saying the debate is revived every few years to discredit their practice. Ed Tamplin says the problem is one that actually confuses Babylonian “sun signs” with modern ‘star signs’. “Sun signs do not correspond to constellations in the sky,” Mr Tamplin said.

“[They] share the same name as constellations only because the Sun, Moon and planets travel through a similar area of the sky. They actually define the equinoxes and the solstices.”

Mr Tamplin said while the constellations have moved from their original positions the pieces of sky (the signs) are still on the equinox and solstice positions. “Ancient monuments like Newgrange, or Chichen Itza built by the astronomer priests still accurately measure the equinoxes and solstices to this very day,” he said.

Here is the proposed new Zodiac sign chart:

  1. Capricorn: Jan. 20 – Feb. 16
  2. Aquarius: Feb. 16 – March 11
  3. Pisces: March 11- April 18
  4. Aries: April 18- May 13
  5. Taurus: May 13- June 21
  6. Gemini: June 21- July 20
  7. Cancer: July 20- Aug. 10
  8. Leo: Aug. 10- Sept. 16
  9. Virgo: Sept. 16- Oct. 30
  10. Libra: Oct. 30- Nov. 23
  11. Scorpio: Nov. 23- Nov. 29
  12. Ophiuchus: Nov. 29- Dec. 17
  13. Sagittarius: Dec. 17- Jan. 20

You might have noticed the list above also includes the new sign for people born between November 29 and December 17, Ophiuchus, the snake holder, which was removed from charts by the Babylonians so it would align more accurately with the calendar.

Author: Simon Black | Source: The News [January 14, 2011]



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