The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has identified a 13th sign of the zodiac between Sagittarius and Scorpius: Ophiuchus, also known as the “serpent bearer” because it appears in the middle of the Serpens constellation.
But NASA was quick to point out that “we didn’t change any zodiac signs… we just did the math.”
The ancient Babylonians invented the 12 signs of the zodiac to match their 12-month lunar calendar, NASA pointed out in a recent Tumblr post.
But they “ignored the fact that the sun actually moves through 13 constellations, not 12” during Earth’s year-long orbit around the sun.
“Even then, some of the chosen 12 didn’t fit neatly into their assigned slice of the [celestial] pie and crossed over into the next one,” NASA pointed out. For example, “the line from Earth through the sun points to Virgo for 45 days, but it points to Scorpius for only 7 days.”
The addition of Ophiuchus throws off astrologers’ daily horoscope predictions, which are based on birth dates in a 12-constellation zodiac.
“I woke up this morning firmly believing that I was an outgoing, courageous, independent, generous Leo. However, now I have to come to grips with the fact that I am in fact a stupid, sulky, inconsiderate, pessimistic Cancer,” Ars Technica writer Lee Hutchinson groused.
“Ophiuchus has nothing to do with Astrology,” astrologer Rick Levine sniffed. “It has to do with the stars – it’s not a sign, it’s a constellation.”
But NASA was quick to point out that identifying the long-neglected Ophiuchus as the 13th sign of the zodiac does not change anything.
“Astrology is NOT astronomy,” NASA stated. “Astronomy is the scientific study of everything in outer space. …Astrology is something else. It’s not science. No one has shown that astrology can be used to predict the future or describe what people are like based on their birth dates.”