Astrology, Astronomy Face Off Over Zodiac Shift

Little+known+constellation+Ophiucus+alines+with+the+sun%27s+path+through+the+sky%2C+making+it+a+candidate+for+a+zodiac+sign.+

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Little known constellation Ophiucus alines with the sun's path through the sky, making it a candidate for a zodiac sign.

According to astrology, the zodiac sign Ophiuchus carries the personality traits to be curious, open to change, passionate, and extremely jealous. If you were born in-between the dates, November 19th and December 17th, you might be an Ophiuchus.

You may be asking yourself, “But, I’m a Scorpio/Sagittarius, I’m not an Ophiuchus!” Well, That depends on who you ask.

In 2011, Time Magazine reported that a group of astronomers from the Minnesota Planetarium Society found that the alignment of the stars has shifted over the centuries. This news may seem exciting, but it has provoked an entire shift to the zodiac calendar that is still being discussed nine years later.

The argument centers around not only the shift of the well-known zodiac signs but the addition of a new one called Ophiuchus. The new alignment has caused outrage on social media platforms, such as Instagram and Snapchat.

The debate took off after Nasa put the information about the shift on their website as part of their Space Place page for children. According to a 2016 article on Science Alert entitled “Stop Freaking Out, NASA Did Not Just Change Your Zodiac Sign,” several popular publications (none of them science or astrology related), started to report that NASA had engineered the change. Using NASA’s information about how the sun travels through the constellations, they devised entirely new charts for astrological signs.

Regardless of whether you are a science enthusiast or an avid astrology believer, one thing not up for debate is that the constellation exists, and is aligned with the other constellations in the sun’s path.

Nasa’s Space Place describes it like this: Imagine a straight line drawn from Earth through the Sun and out into space way beyond our solar system where the stars are. Then, picture Earth following its orbit around the Sun. This imaginary line would rotate, pointing to different stars throughout one complete trip around the Sun—or, one year. All the stars that lie close to the imaginary flat disk swept out by this imaginary line are said to be in the zodiac.

The constellations in the zodiac are simply the constellations that this imaginary straight line points to in its year-long journey.

Ophiuchus is a constellation positioned northwest of the center of the Milky Way. Though fairly large, it isn’t very well-known. If you ever want to see this incredible constellation, you would have to use a telescope throughout July at 9 PM, as that’s when the constellation appears the clearest, according to Space.com

The Ophiuchus was recorded in the 2nd century by the Greek astronomer, Ptolemy. In Latin, Ophiuchus is translated as “serpent bearer.” This constellation looks as if a man is grasping a snake. The snake is associated with doctors, making Ophiuchus a sign of healing, as Space.com discusses.

Students haven’t been impacted much by the news, however.

“I thought it was fake news,” said student Lauren Z. “But you can’t go wrong with what NASA says.” Zuber is taking the purely scientific approach, understanding that NASA has nothing to do with the astrological implications.

Lilia P., however, looked at the re-arranged star chart and felt somehow cheated. “It’s like my character changed,” she said.

But don’t worry, the world of astrology hasn’t made significant changes to their mysterious calculations. They’ve never been fully aligned with the scientific explanations. The bottom line, if you follow astrology, is to find your favorite source and stick with them, so you don’t get conflicting forecasts.