Posted - 01/16/2011 : 05:17:54 AM
| New astrological sign dates with addition of Ophiuchus
If you're one of the 25% of Americans who still believes in astrology, then you're sweating Ophiuchus (aka Serpentarius) and your daily horoscope right now.
Though known for millennia, the big O ("off-ih-YOU-kuss") became news this week after astronomer Parke Kunkle began talking about precession and differing views of what's where in the sky — all of which may drastically alter the dates of astrological signs while increasing their number by one.
"Precession" refers to "the wobble in the Earth's axis caused by the gravitational attraction of the moon to the Earth's equator," says a CSMonitor.com story. As the Earth's position shifts, so does our perspective of the night sky.
Over thousands of years — a complete rotation takes 26,000 years — what people take for granted today, like the North Star as the one most closely aligned with Earth's North Pole, will change. Flash forward a few thousand years, and a different star will line up with the Pole.
Astronomers like Kunkle know all about this ongoing shift of celestial positions. About 2,000 years ago, however, the astrologers who came up with the 12 zodiac signs we still use didn't build that in. Meanwhile, the "stars have shifted in the night sky so much that horoscope signs are nearly a month off," CSMonitor.com reports.
This is bad news for those who take their daily horoscopes seriously ("despite the complete lack of scientific and observational evidence for astrology," as the Monitor put it). Now, if astronomers' information about what's where and when in the night sky are to be taken into account, the "real" dates of astrological signs will have to change.
That's because the signs are determined by the sun's position relative to certain constellations on a person's day of birth. Ophiuchus would have to be added when it's situated behind the sun between November 29 and December 17. (See revised astrological signs list at end.)
Greek for "serpent-bearer," Ophiuchus is a large constellation located around the celestial equator. One of the 48 constellations listed by Ptolemy in the second century, it's usually represented as a man grasping the snake which in turn is represented by the constellation Serpens.
But that's neither here nor there when you're wondering which sign you were born under, whether horoscope columns will all change, and which horoscope you'll read and rely on now.
Revised dates of astrological signs
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
BY PAT SUMMERS
A new report contends that our understanding of the zodiac signs are off by about a month. Some folks are outraged thinking their sign has changed. Do you believe in your astrological sign?
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