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Ophiuchus: What NASA Said About 13th Zodiac Sign Ophiuchus?

NASA unequivocally says ‘Astrology is NOT science!’ It is Astronomy that is the scientific study of everything in outer space and astronomers and other space scientists know that stars many light years away have no effect on the ordinary activities of humans on Earth.

"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 only on their birth date. Still, like reading fantasy stories, many people enjoy reading their "astrological forecast" or "horoscope" in the newspaper every day," it said on its sciencepage meant for children, which is at the centre-stage of current controversy over the 13th sign of Ophiuchus.

These zodiac symbols ring the outside of the space and they stand for some of the constellations in the zodiac, it explained. "What is the zodiac and what is special about these constellations?"

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, said the explanation.

The 13 constellations in the zodiac are simply the constellations that this imaginary straight line points to in its year-long journey, said NASA before dwelling into the controversy on the 13th Zodiac sign.

Giving history behind the zodiac signs, it said in ancient times, astronomers did not fully understand how Earth, the Sun, and the stars moved and had no idea the Universe is so vast. But they were keen observers of the sky and tried very hard to make sense of it, hence the symbols.

They imagined that the constellations might be of important symbols, telling stories of their gods and other myths. It was not a big thing suggesting that the changing positions of the constellations at different times of the year might be important to people and events on Earth.

The Babylonians, 3,000 years ago, divided the zodiac into 12 equal parts and picked 12 constellations in the zodiac, one for each of the 12 signs. 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 lunar calendar by then, each month got a slice of the zodiac equally.

But Ophiuchus was left over at the last minute while originally the figure was 50 and got reduced to 12. But even according to the Babylonians’ own ancient stories, there were 13 constellations in the zodiac, while other cultures and traditions have recognized as many as 24 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.

"When the Babylonians first invented the 12 signs of zodiac, a birthday between about July 23 and August 22 meant being born under the constellation Leo. Now, 3,000 years later, the sky has shifted because Earth’s axis (North Pole) doesn’t point in quite the same direction," said NASA in its explanation.

No wonder, NASA has added weight to what the January 2011 controversy surrounding Ophiuchus. If your birthday is on August 4, it would mean that you were born "under the sign" of Cancer (one constellation "earlier"), not Leo. The constellations are different sizes and shapes, so the Sun spends different lengths of time lined up with each one.

The line from Earth through the Sun points to Virgo for 45 days, but it points to Scorpius for only 7 days. To make a tidy match with their 12-month calendar, the Babylonians ignored the fact that the Sun actually moves through 13 constellations, not 12. Then they assigned each of those 12 constellations equal amounts of time. Besides the 12 familiar constellations of the zodiac, the Sun is also aligned with Ophiuchus for about 18 days each year, it noted.

Hence, the renewed controversy over the 13th star Ophiuchus and the new Zodiac Calendar, it the new star is included as below:
Here is the proposed new Zodiac sign chart:

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

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