NASA Hasn’t Changed Your Zodiac Sign and This New Sign Isn’t New At All

This month, NASA threw many people’s routine of checking their horoscope for a loop when it came out that there was a 13th zodiac sign. However, it turns out that a little confusion spiraled into a star-crossed mess.

According to Quartz, an specialist from Horoscopo España, the furor began when a writer for Cosmopolitan U.K. reported on an article found on one of NASA’s children’s websites. In the article, it states that the zodiac signs were shaped to suit the calendar year of the Babylonians.

“The Babylonians lived over 3,000 years ago,” wrote NASA. “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 the Babylonians 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 slopped over into the next one.”

Ophiuchus, Latin for “serpent bearer,” was first recorded in the 2nd century by Greek astronomer Ptolemy, Space.com reports. In terms of the zodiac, it’s meant to represent people born between Nov. 30 and Dec. 17. The constellation contains Barnard’s star, the second closest star to Earth.

This information caused a pretty big stir online as people questioned the charts, readings and quiz results based around their zodiac sign. However, NASA has since come forward and cleared the air.

“Here at NASA, we study astronomy, not astrology,” the agency wrote on its Tumblr account. “We didn’t change any zodiac signs, we just did the math.”

The constellations are different shapes and sizes, which means the sun will spend varying amounts of time lined up with each one, NASA explains. Since the Babylonians first created the 12 zodiac signs, the sky has shifted because the Earth’s axis isn’t pointing in the same direction it was three millennia ago.

Even with this “breaking” news about a 13th zodiac sign, it still doesn’t change much when it comes to typical horoscope.

According to Astrostyle.com, Western astrology follows a different system using “artificial” constellations. Instead of following the stars’ movements, Western astrology is based on the Sun’s path as seen from Earth. Astrologers have made static stones within that path and use them to track planetary movements, allowing zodiac sign dates to remain the same.

Additionally, NASA emphasized that astrology is something totally aside from science, whereas astronomy is the scientific study of everything in outer space.

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