Earth wobble creates Zodiacal changes
A Minnesota astronomer confirms what many have suspected: Your horoscope is quite possibly wrong.
Earth’s shifts on its axis over the past 3,000 years have changed the 12 zodiac signs. For example, think your sign is Aquarius? You may be a Pisces. (There’s also a 13th sign, Ophiuchus, that’s based on a constellation the ancient Babylonians threw out for symmetry thousands of years ago.)
The constellation Ophiuchus as it can be seen by naked eye. AlltheSky.com
Johannes Kepler’s drawing depicting the location of the stella nova in the foot of Ophiuchus.
So who’s to blame for this scam on zodiac devotees?
The ancient Babylonians based the zodiac on which constellation the sun appeared to be in when a person was born. Since then, the moon’s has exerted a gravitation pull on Earth, causing a "wobble" on its axis that has shifted the stars’ alignment by about a month, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports.
"Because of this change in the tilt, the Earth is over here and the sun is in a different constellation than it was 3,000 years ago when this study of the stars began," astronomer Parke Kunkle told the Twin Cities’ KARE-TV.
The shift isn’t new, Kunkle says -- the zodiac world just hasn’t taken the wobble into account.
Here’s your new sign below:
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-Nov. 29
Ophiuchus: Nov. 29-Dec. 17
Sagittarius: Dec. 17-Jan. 20
Article from: news.yahoo.com
Did Your Horoscope Predict This?
By Jesse McKinley | NYTimes.com
Astrologers, not surprisingly, say they knew this would happen.
But that didn’t stop a furious response among horoscope fans on Friday, as news shot around cyberspace — and, no doubt, outer space — that the world’s zodiac signs might somehow be out of whack, a development with potentially life-changing impact on professional and personal relationships, pickup lines in singles’ bars and, presumably, the day-to-day schedule of the former first lady Nancy Reagan.
All of which left professional prognosticators seeking to calm their followers, and astronomers chuckling at the fate of their more metaphysical brethren.
“Don’t panic,” Lawrence Grecco, who has worked for 20 years as astrologer and life coach in Manhattan, assured his clients. “Your sign is your sign.”
But such assurances did little to quell the cosmic kerfuffle after The Star Tribune in Minneapolis innocuously reported Monday that a naturally occurring wobble in the direction of the Earth’s axis — technically known as a “precession” — had altered the alignment of stars’ overhead from their traditional star signs, which date back several millennia. The report, citing Parke Kunkle, a board member of the Minnesota Planetarium Society, quickly went viral. Mr. Kunkle, suddenly cast as the Man Who Changed the Zodiac, said he had just been commenting on a well-known fact about the stars in relation to astrology.
Reports of the shift resulted in existential, and occasionally grammatical, crises among Aries, Leos and even Ophuchices (more on this later) around the nation and online.
“My zodiac sign changed,” wrote one upset Twitter user on Friday morning. “Does that mean that I’m not anymore who I used to be?!?”
According to the report, Capricorn, which astrologers say begins its monthlong term in December, actually starts on Jan. 20, based on the actual position of the stars. Aquarius, meanwhile, would be bumped to February. And so on.
Scientists say an ancient Greek astronomer was the first to recognize the precession of the Earth’s axis, caused by the gravitational tug of the Moon and the Sun on a not-quite-round Earth. So it is, said Joe Rao, an associate and guest lecturer at the Rose Center for Earth and Space at the Hayden Planetarium, that “over time the Earth’s north pole is pointing toward different stars.” Which means, in turn, that “all of the zodiac positions which astrologers use as the foundation of their studies are inaccurate,” he said.
As are, of course, any predictions made from them, he added. “This is, after all, the 21st century,” Mr. Rao said.
But such scorn from skeptics is to be expected, said Rob Brezsny, the author of a syndicated weekly horoscope column, who added that the idea that the zodiac was shifting was just another attempt to discredit astrology, in which one in four Americans profess to believe, according to a 2009 Pew Research Center poll.
Mr. Brezsny and other astrologers say they have long known that the pairings of constellations and astrological signs don’t match, but that Western astrologers don’t deal with stars — as some other branches of astrology do — but rather the planets and solar system.
“If they’re going to question its foundations,” he said in an e-mail, referring to scientific skeptics, “they should at least learn it well enough to know what they’re talking about.”
Mr. Brezsny said the argument that the zodiac was off kilter was old news but he was shocked how fast the Star Tribune article — inspired by a blog item on the LiveScience Web site — caught fire.
By Friday, Monty Taylor, a veteran star man from Manhattan, said he and other astrologers were e-mailing, saying, “Oh, here we go again. One step forward and two steps back.”
Even more shocking for some was the report that the 12-sign system would be adding a new, and ominously a 13th, sign — Ophiuchus, the snake holder — which ancient Babylonians dumped. (Maybe they were superstitious?). Its cycle runs from Nov. 29 to Dec. 17, making it the unofficial sign of Holiday Shoppers.
Some likened it to the 2006 news that Pluto — long considered the smallest, cutest planet — was being reclassified as a dwarf planet. “First we were told that Pluto is not a planet, now there’s a new zodiac sign, Ophiuchus,” read one tweet from someone with the handle HarryPotterish. “My childhood was a bloody lie.”
William Duvendack, a St. Louis astrologer on the board of the Astrological Association of St. Louis, said he had been inundated with questions.
“It’s been a lot of damage control,” said Mr. Duvendack, fielding questions from shaken clients. “I’m having to reassure them that this is all factored into astrology.”
For all that, Mr. Brezsny and others said their craft would survive the confusion — and the skeptics — if only because its adherents are so passionate. “Astrology is a poetic language of the soul, not a scientific method,” he said, likening it to “a Neruda poem, Kandinsky paintings or a Nick Cave song.”
“None of those things are rational or scientific,” he added.
Not everyone was upset with the news of the supposed star shift. Mr. Duvendack said he had at least one astrology buff respond happily.
“A woman who told me she’d always felt there were one or two traits about Sagittarius that didn’t fit her personality,” Mr. Duvendack said. “But that the new sign is spot on.”
Article from: nytimes.com
Top Image: Source: Kagaya Yutaka, KagayaStudio.com
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