A brand new story about an outdated misunderstanding is as soon as once more circulating—and NASA is as soon as once more setting the file straight.
It began with a resurfaced story NASA “found” a 13th zodiac signal—Ophiuchus, or the serpent-bearer. Anybody born between November 29 and December 17 would now not be a Scorpio or a Sagittarius, however an Ophiuchus. Scorpio’s window could be reduce to only seven days and the whole astrology chart would shift, that means some Pisces and Leos and Libras would have completely different star indicators. As astrology lovers on-line began to panic, NASA gently waded into the net fray to set the file straight.
“We see your feedback a couple of zodiac story that re-emerges each few years,” the house company wrote in a tweet. “No, we didn’t change the zodiac.” It features a hyperlink to a Tumblr publish that explains what really occurred.
In a weblog publish, NASA patiently explains the distinction between astronomy (“the scientific research of all the pieces in house”) and astrology (“[i]t’s not thought-about a science”). NASA then notes that the zodiac indicators are merely constellations which might be consistent with the Earth and the Solar because the planet follows its orbit. Earth really travels by way of 13 indicators, together with Capricorn, Aries, and, sure, Ophiuchus, however some 3,000 years in the past the Babylonians—not NASA—determined 12 was neater than 13, so excluded the 13th zodiac signal and divided the zodiac into 12 components based mostly on the 12 months of their calendar, based on NASA.
“The road from Earth by way of the solar factors to Virgo for 45 days, but it surely factors to Scorpius for less than 7 days. To make a tidy match with their 12-month calendar, the Babylonians ignored the truth that the solar really strikes by way of 13 constellations, not 12. Then they assigned every of these 12 constellations equal quantities of time,” NASA explains of their publish.
Again in 2011, as TIME reported, astronomers from the Minnesota Planetarium Society discovered that due to the moon’s gravitational pull on Earth, the alignment of the celebrities has shifted, so the solar factors to completely different components of the zodiac at completely different occasions. “So, we didn’t change any zodiac indicators…we simply did the maths,” the house company’s weblog publish concludes.
That publish was initially written in 2016, however because the story of a shifting zodiac circulates as soon as once more, NASA has retweeted it once more.
Whereas the Tumblr publish it linked too is pretty straight ahead, the staid house company will get just a little spicier in its tackle astronomy on its early schooling web site. “Nobody has proven that astrology can be utilized to foretell the longer term or describe what individuals are like based mostly solely on their start date,” NASA writes on their kids’s web site. “Nonetheless, like studying fantasy tales, many individuals get pleasure from studying their ‘astrological forecast’ or ‘horoscope’ within the newspaper every single day.”