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NASA have cleared up stories about their 'discovery' of a 13th star sign

By James Fenton

July 17, 2020 at 3:59pm

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You may have been told this week that you have a new star sign, owing to NASA's discovery of a 13th Zodiac sign.

The internet was up in arms this about the 'discovery' of Ophiuchus but something about the story sounded familiar. Basically, it reemerges every few years and NASA has now pleaded innocent to messing with the star signs.

The world-renowned space researchers have moved to put the story to bed by issuing a statement on the matter. It says: 'We see your comments about a zodiac story that re-emerges every few years. No, we did not change the zodiac. When the Babylonians invented the constellations 3,000 years ago, they chose to leave out a 13th sign. So, we did the math.'

Very tempted to add an 's' at the end of maths there but we'll let them away with it.

They go on by explaining the difference between astronomy and astrology, saying: 'Here at NASA, we study astronomy, not astrology. Astronomy is the scientific study of everything in outer space. Astronomers and other scientists know that stars many light-years away have no effect on the ordinary activities of humans on Earth. Astrology, meanwhile, is something else. It’s the belief that the positions of stars and planets can influence human events. It’s not considered a science.'

NASA continue to pin the blame on the Babylonians by saying: 'The Babylonians lived over 3,000 years ago. They divided the zodiac into 12 equal parts – like cutting a pizza into 12 equal slices. They picked 12 constellations in the zodiac, one for each of the 12 “slices.” So, as Earth orbits the sun, the sun would appear to pass through each of the 12 parts of the zodiac. Since the Babylonians already had a 12-month calendar (based on the phases of the moon), each month got a slice of the zodiac all to itself.

'But even according to the Babylonians’ own ancient stories, there were 13 constellations in the zodiac. So they picked one, Ophiuchus, to leave out. Even then, some of the chosen 12 didn’t fit neatly into their assigned slice of the pie and crossed over into the next one.

'When the Babylonians first invented the 12 signs of zodiac, a birthday between about July 23 and August 22 meant being born under the constellation Leo. Now, 3,000 years later, the sky has shifted because Earth’s axis (North Pole) doesn’t point in quite the same direction.

'The constellations are different sizes and shapes, so the sun spends different lengths of time lined up with each one. The line from Earth through the sun points to Virgo for 45 days, but it points to Scorpius for only 7 days.  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. So, we didn’t change any zodiac signs…we just did the math.'

In summary, you're still a Scorpio if you were always a Scorpio and there's no need to shift your gaze to another star sign the next time you check the horoscopes. You can read NASA's statement in full here.

(header pic: Shutterstock)

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