Join 3,494 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Luckily, my sign is unchanged: "Slippery When Wet"
January 13, 2011 7:21 AM   Subscribe

The zodiac calendar has been corrected based on the original Babylonian setup. "When [astrologers] say that the sun is in Pisces, it's really not in Pisces," said Parke Kunkle, a board member of the Minnesota Planetarium Society.

The corrected zodiac:

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. 23-29.
Ophiuchus:* Nov. 29-Dec. 17.
Sagittarius: Dec. 17-Jan. 20.

* Discarded by the Babylonians because they wanted 12 signs per year.
via
posted by FatherDagon (154 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
I'm sure everyone is relieved.
posted by ged at 7:24 AM on January 13, 2011


This is sure to result in a measurable increase in effectiveness.
posted by Artw at 7:25 AM on January 13, 2011 [8 favorites]


Wait, I'm a Virgo?

"Yeah, but you can’t do that."

"Why not?"

"‘Cause it’s freaking me out."

posted by zarq at 7:25 AM on January 13, 2011 [11 favorites]


So that's why astrology doesn't work!
posted by Horace Rumpole at 7:26 AM on January 13, 2011 [11 favorites]


Aw, fuck. Better take up archery. Again.
posted by vrakatar at 7:26 AM on January 13, 2011


Still a Taurus. USA! USA! USA!
posted by monkey!knife!fight! at 7:27 AM on January 13, 2011 [10 favorites]


If we just add in Ophiuchus and Arachne, it will totally work this time! (I love Sladek)
posted by adipocere at 7:31 AM on January 13, 2011


Thats ok. Personality traits associated with these signs have also been slowly migrating over the millenia, so it all cancels out. Clearly Park Kunkle has never studied astrology!
posted by vacapinta at 7:33 AM on January 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


First they came for Pluto...
posted by fatllama at 7:33 AM on January 13, 2011 [22 favorites]


Sorry, no. My twins have to stay Gemini. Because duh.
posted by DU at 7:33 AM on January 13, 2011 [6 favorites]


I'm not suddenly a Libra. Not after years of adolescent navel gazing that cemented alleged Scorpio traits into my self-image. They can't take that away from me.

My best astrology story: lived one college summer with a bunch of people including a self proclaimed witch. She did all our charts. She told me "You're a Scorpio with your moon in Aries and Aries rising. Wow. You really are a bitch."

Yes, I know it's all hooey.
posted by rainbaby at 7:36 AM on January 13, 2011 [15 favorites]


Looked at another way.... the constellation of Pisces is no longer in the sign of Pisces.
posted by jaruwaan at 7:36 AM on January 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


I prefer Myers-Briggs Personality Types. Just like the Zodiac, except with SIXTEEN different signs. That's 33% more science!
posted by Legomancer at 7:38 AM on January 13, 2011 [51 favorites]


This is not new information of course. You can see it for yourself in Stellarium if you want to.

I've heard that Indian astrology doesn't have this error, but I'm afraid I can't provide any details.
posted by mahershalal at 7:44 AM on January 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


We all know there's only one true way for the stars to be right. And when that happens, there'll be no mistaking the signs...
posted by FatherDagon at 7:44 AM on January 13, 2011 [8 favorites]


This is going to cause a LOT of newspaper correction notices...
posted by backseatpilot at 7:45 AM on January 13, 2011 [4 favorites]


Well, that's quite handy.

"I'm an Ophiuchus, fucker. Go on, stereotype me now!"
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 7:46 AM on January 13, 2011 [14 favorites]


THIS WILL NOT STAND!
posted by blue_beetle at 7:47 AM on January 13, 2011


This is nothing more than the latest employment plan for psychologists. It is certain to knock a bunch of unstable folks into a severe identity crisis.
posted by Goofyy at 7:48 AM on January 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


And when that happens, there'll be no mistaking the signs...

EponyOH GOD THE HIDEOUS THREE-LOBED BURNING EYE! Iä! Iä! u64uyhg;ou5ujb.

NO CARRIER
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 7:49 AM on January 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


mahershalal - it looks like it might be based on the sidereal zodiac (apart from the new constellation, Ophiuchus, but I think they might be going towards using a sidereal year rather than a tropical year). And not an error as such, just different ways of measuring the year.

What they're suggesting isn't anything new, but rather adopting the Hindu astrological system which is based on different astronomical principles, i.e. a different definition of the solar year.

The zodiac signs are based on the rising dates of constellations. But the dates change year-on-year due to the precession of the equinoxes. I.e. the gravitational pull of the Moon acts as a kind of brake upon the Earth, which means that the position of the fixed stars changes very slightly.

The solar year has two definitions used in different calendar systems. The 'tropical year' is the length of the year from one spring equinox to the next. The 'sidereal year' is the related to the position of the fixed stars. Due to the precession of the equinoxes, the sidereal year is about 20 minutes longer than the tropical year.

The Western calendar is based on the tropical year, i.e. it is based on the seasons, equinox-to-equinox (and Jewish and Chinese calendars use the tropical year as their solar component). But Hindu calendars use the sidereal year, which makes sense if you have a calendar based on constellations. Which means the Hindu solar year is slightly longer than the Western solar year, which adds up over many centuries.

Hindu and Western calendars probably share a common origin in Mesopotamia. But as millennia have gone by, they've drifted apart. However, the months of the Hindu solar calendar are based on the constellations.

There is a table of correspondences between the two zodiac systems here :
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sidereal_astrology

And here, some way down :

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jyoti%E1%B9%A3a


Mesa (Aries), Vrsabha (Taurus) etc. are the names of months in certain Hindu solar calendars. There are also Hindu calendars with both a lunar and solar component (Diwali comes from these calendars), but the solar component is based on the sidereal year rather than the tropical year also.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sidereal_year
posted by plep at 7:50 AM on January 13, 2011 [8 favorites]


Great. That makes me even MORE screwed up than before. Being cusp sucks, btw. If you believe in that sort of thing.
posted by strixus at 7:51 AM on January 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


What are the Ophiuchus personality traits again?
posted by blucevalo at 7:51 AM on January 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Troublesome, nonexistent.
posted by avianism at 7:57 AM on January 13, 2011 [27 favorites]


As an unintended side effect, future performances of Hair will involve the cast taking off all their clothes to reveal that they are, in fact, fish.
posted by condour75 at 7:59 AM on January 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


This is not new information of course. You can see it for yourself in Stellarium if you want to.

is there some overlay that shows this or something? that would be cool. It's been a while since i've looked at stellarium
posted by ArgentCorvid at 8:00 AM on January 13, 2011


*THROWS WINE GLASS ACROSS ROOM*

I AM NOT A VIRGO!
posted by The Whelk at 8:04 AM on January 13, 2011 [13 favorites]


I'm a Taurus, because astrology is bullshit.
posted by Tube at 8:05 AM on January 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


Ha ha! Still Leo! In fact, more Leo now than ever!

*lies down with lamb*
*eats lamb*
posted by Greg Nog at 8:06 AM on January 13, 2011 [5 favorites]


is there some overlay that shows this or something? that would be cool. It's been a while since i've looked at stellarium

There was a script about this. You might find it here. (There's one called "Your sign", could be it)

plep: thanks!
posted by mahershalal at 8:07 AM on January 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yay, I'm still a Pisces! *loafs*
posted by fleetmouse at 8:08 AM on January 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


I suspect the tattoo removal business will be seeing a good year.
posted by brundlefly at 8:09 AM on January 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


I used to be a Taurus, but now I'm a Camry.

(Actually, I'm a Dog. If, you know, I actually believed in any of this bullshit.)
posted by kmz at 8:09 AM on January 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


See, Capricorn drives like this, but Opiuchus drives like this.

Still a Pisces. I shall take this news with my normal wise, introspective aplomb.
posted by norm at 8:13 AM on January 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Part of me is annoyed because I don't want to give up my Gemini status, but the other part of me was kind of hoping I'd end up with a better sign than Taurus.
posted by kkokkodalk at 8:13 AM on January 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


As an unintended side effect, future performances of Hair will involve the cast taking off all their clothes to reveal that they are, in fact, fish.

No, it goes the other way! They'll take off their clothes and reveal that they're goats.
posted by madcaptenor at 8:16 AM on January 13, 2011


When I was in my teens I went out with a woman who claimed she was an expert in astrology. On our first date she said she could guess my sign. She got it on the twelfth guess. When I confirmed I was a Libra she said, "No, you aren't." I answered, "Maybe I got my birthdate wrong. I was very young at the time."
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 8:17 AM on January 13, 2011 [15 favorites]


OMG I'm an Ophi-whatever! It all makes sense now! RIDE THE SNAKE!!!!!!!
posted by ND¢ at 8:19 AM on January 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Hahaha, I always KNEW The Whelk was a Virgo!
posted by hermitosis at 8:22 AM on January 13, 2011


Also, we should all eat scorpions for Thanksgiving.
posted by madcaptenor at 8:22 AM on January 13, 2011


No, sorry, not ready to give up my Aries status. Because then I will have to come up with new reasons why I am self absorbed, stubborn and pushy. Besides, Pisces - isn't that a water sign? How does that work? When will people stop fixing things that aren't broken? Yeah, to hell with this - I have decided the old zodiac was best, and I will hang onto it with both hands until someone drags me away kicking and screaming. No one is taking away my Aries sun sign!

(Yes, I know it's all hooey.)
posted by routergirl at 8:22 AM on January 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


They'll take off their clothes and reveal that they're goats.

Or, at the very least, horny.
posted by aught at 8:23 AM on January 13, 2011 [4 favorites]


Bill Nye did it first.
posted by Gordafarin at 8:23 AM on January 13, 2011


My new sign (Sagittarius) is about as accurate a depiction of me as my old one (Capricorn) - which is to say, not very. I think I'll just go with whichever sign has more smiley faces in the day's forecast.
posted by Metroid Baby at 8:25 AM on January 13, 2011


I like how both Western and Chinese charts tell me I'm "Charming but gossipy".
posted by The Whelk at 8:30 AM on January 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


"When [astrologers] say that the sun is in Pisces, it's really not in Pisces,"

No, it's in Uranus.
posted by londonmark at 8:30 AM on January 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Ophiuchus

Today will be a good day, full of snake-carrying. Beware of poisonous snakes, and only carry light snakes, so that you don't throw your back out. Your morning will include at least four snakes, and your afternoon will include at least six. Carry all of them no less than fifty feet. In the evening, you will encounter one gigantic snake. It will be heavy, but you must carry it at least forty feet in order to be lucky in love. A mysterious stranger will call you. That stranger is also a snake.
posted by Greg Nog at 8:32 AM on January 13, 2011 [48 favorites]


Ugh. These things are so general they could apply to anyone. What type of snake Mr. Expert?
posted by ND¢ at 8:36 AM on January 13, 2011 [8 favorites]


According to the chart Greg we'd be bickering constantly so please stop sending me snakes.
posted by The Whelk at 8:36 AM on January 13, 2011


Your birthday is when? Really? How does it feel to be discarded by the Babylonians?
posted by Wolfdog at 8:37 AM on January 13, 2011 [8 favorites]


i see. so sharing with facebook is to be a two way thing?
posted by de at 8:38 AM on January 13, 2011


Everyone who favorites my comments gets songs, happy words, book recommendations, funny links, and snakes. But mostly just snakes. And by mostly I mean only and by everyone who favorites my comments I mean everyone and by gets I mean snakes.
posted by ND¢ at 8:40 AM on January 13, 2011 [10 favorites]


I am now an Ophiuchi.

Pros: The disappointed look when someone asks my sign and I say Ophiuchus. Snakes!

Cons: The center of the galaxy is no longer part of my personal celestial real estate.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 8:42 AM on January 13, 2011


Well there goes my stellium in Aquarius.

On the other hand my wife has gone from Scorpio to Libra. I am trying to figure out how this will affect our relationship.
posted by localroger at 8:43 AM on January 13, 2011


>: "I prefer Myers-Briggs Personality Types. Just like the Zodiac, except with SIXTEEN different signs. That's 33% more science!"

True at the basic level, but then there are moon signs and planetary signs, and the angles formed between the planets in the signs!

Actually, I'm surprised the Myers-Briggs doesn't have equivalents of all that. It's ripe for extension to guarantee its more scientific place. The base-level INTP or whatnot should be the primary modality, with secondary modality using different measurements based on each axis, and then the modal ratio could be the relationship between those two. Then that could be done recursively. That all sounds pretty scientific to me even before the jargon gets spiced up, so I think I'm onto something here.
posted by Drastic at 8:46 AM on January 13, 2011


My sign is also unchanged: Neon
posted by Reverend John at 8:46 AM on January 13, 2011 [4 favorites]


It's like being a fly on the wall at a homeopathic nostrum factory when they're freaking out because they accidentally mislabeled a shipment of snail mucus diluted to 1060 as alligator semen diluted to 1060.
posted by Rhomboid at 8:52 AM on January 13, 2011 [13 favorites]


I'm an Aries. When people ask me my sign and I tell them, they go, "I should have guessed! You're totally an Aries!"

I wish that they had changed my sign to something other than a Pisces, because the typical Pisces description fits me possibly the least well of all of the signs. It would have been more fun if I could now tell people that I'm, I don't know, a Virgo. Just so I could see them go "I should have guessed! You're totally a Virgo!"
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 8:53 AM on January 13, 2011


What a relief! I always knew I was really a Leo. Suck it, Virgo, with your "Virgos are fussy, control-freaky, pretentious, nervous nellies who suck all the life out of parties." AM NOT! /goes to reorganize silverware drawer because the boyfriend can't seem to learn that the butter knives and steak knives do NOT GO IN THE SAME SPACE I mean jeez
posted by chowflap at 8:53 AM on January 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


The position of Jupiter says that you should spend the rest of the week face down in the mud.
posted by kyrademon at 8:54 AM on January 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


I knew a guy from Ophiuchon. My cousin dated him for a while, but he was a total dick to her- super passive-aggressive. Came across as a nice guy to everyone, but always put her down to cover up his own insecurities. Later we found out he borrowed a lot of money from her but never paid it back. I'm glad the Cylons wasted his ass.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 8:56 AM on January 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


Here's a pet theory for your immediate debunkal: what if personality traits differ seasonally as a side-effect of vitamin D intake in utero? A Scorpio child's mother went through her first trimester in the dark, whereas a Pisces child's mother went through it around midsummer. Or maybe seasonal dietary differences lead to other nutrient deficiencies and/or surpluses.
posted by condour75 at 8:57 AM on January 13, 2011 [4 favorites]


That would explain why the northern and southern hemispheres developed competing astrological theories, if that were something that needed to be explained.
posted by Wolfdog at 9:05 AM on January 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


I don't care because astrology is a total crock but YEAH STILL A LEO RAWR


*does the Leo dance and you are all impressed because it's the best dance*
posted by louche mustachio at 9:10 AM on January 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


Thirty-one percent of Americans believe in astrology.

How the the heavens did that happen???
posted by xenophile at 9:11 AM on January 13, 2011


grandstanding argumentative leos!

I'll be in the corner with all the other attractive, heavy-drinking libras and we're all talking about you.
posted by The Whelk at 9:12 AM on January 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


Aries? Oh hell no. I am and forever will be a Taurus, I don't care what that thing says.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 9:12 AM on January 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


I mean, how in the heavens. Aargh. Still fighting Morning Coffee Deficiency Syndrome.
posted by xenophile at 9:12 AM on January 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


I wonder if the change is really going to take hold in conventional (like daily-newspaper-horoscope-level) astrology. It seems like most people know their sign, so it's be a pretty big (if trivial) shift.

For me, on the one hand Cancer makes a lot more sense than Leo. On the other hand, I'm trading an awesome lion for a lousy crab.
posted by missix at 9:17 AM on January 13, 2011


I'd love to see the Venn diagram for Americans that believe in astrology and creationism.
posted by norm at 9:23 AM on January 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Ironically, none of them believe in Venn diagrams.
posted by Wolfdog at 9:27 AM on January 13, 2011 [6 favorites]


What? Virgo? Fuck that noise, I'm a Scorpio. Goddammit.
posted by Lucinda at 9:28 AM on January 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


(deep breath, calm down)

That's weird - Virgo is now a month and a half long, and Scorpio is a week.
posted by Lucinda at 9:30 AM on January 13, 2011


I'm not ashamed to admit that I looked up David Coverdale's birthday, just in case.

/sadly, he's a Virgo, which I find questionable
posted by Uniformitarianism Now! at 9:32 AM on January 13, 2011


I'm still a Pisces, but no longer on the Pisces/Aries cusp.
My husband (whom I'll call SB) is still a Leo, but now he's on a cusp.
A good friend of mine was born 16 days after me, and he's now a Pisces, too. It kinda suits him better, I think.

SB and I looked up some chinese birth year chart the other day. I'm a "wood rabbit" and he's a "water tiger". Opposites that depend upon each other to grow & survive. That's a very accurate description of us as a couple.

This stuff is amusing to me, but nowadays, I give it about as much weight as I do the stuff I learned in Religion Class for the 12 years I wore plaid.

Oh, and brundlefly, you nearly made me spray my monitor with tea! I'll add MeFi to the "list of places online I don't drink and read." ;)
posted by luckynerd at 9:47 AM on January 13, 2011


Huh, so I'm a Taurus now. Well, at least I'll have an explanation for my unfortunate actions in the china shop later today.
posted by quin at 9:47 AM on January 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


*THROWS WINE GLASS ACROSS ROOM*

I AM NOT A VIRGO!


Virgo to Leo = Virago?
posted by IndigoJones at 9:48 AM on January 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


I CARE ABOUT THIS
posted by shakespeherian at 10:00 AM on January 13, 2011


Still a Sagittarius, only now, on the cusp of Ophiuchus. And while there haven't been any personality traits drawn up for that sign yet, the story behind it is at least encouraging.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 10:29 AM on January 13, 2011


Apparently Capricorn is very pessimistic and fatalistic (which I am) and Sagittarius is optimistic and freedom-loving (which I'd like to be) so I see this as a good chance to try and change my whole life based on some hooey I read on the internet.
posted by The otter lady at 10:36 AM on January 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


Metafilter: try and change my whole life based on some hooey I read on the internet.
posted by The Whelk at 10:37 AM on January 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


While I was once a modest, shy, perfectionist conservative, I am now generous, warm-hearted, faithful and loving! EMBRACE THE NEW ME IN MY INFINITE SPLENDOUR.
posted by dudekiller at 10:40 AM on January 13, 2011


Well now my scorpion tattoo makes no fucking sense.
posted by nola at 10:41 AM on January 13, 2011 [6 favorites]


I'm kind of biased, but Ophiuchus is a pretty bad ass sounding Zodiac sign.
posted by tommccabe at 10:58 AM on January 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


TEAM PISCES!
posted by oddman at 11:00 AM on January 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


Simple spreadsheet calendars, side by side, to more easily see the shift.

I have a story about coming to learn I wasn't a Sag anymore. Being the rational, skeptical type, I don't believe the constellations actually affect human behavior; but I also think it's fun and mostly harmless. So one Sunday several years ago I come home from the flea market with what I think of as a cute little print of Donald Duck and his nephews on a boat, with a sea serpent chasing them. Perfect for the bathroom, the one that guests use. But it occurs to me that the giant scaly fanged monster might be too scary for our friend's little kids, and having a outdoor hot tub, you really want a kid-friendly bathroom they use early and often. Then I think about what's on my walls, and suddenly I noticed I own, almost exclusively, art with images of a snake, or a serpent, and it's always confronting, startling or somehow in opposition to a man, or a couple (or okay, some cartoon ducks). This (top image) is what I had hanging over my bed, for example. I have no particular interest in live snakes, I just love their form and pattern, and something about what they represent to me--temptation, forbidden knowledge, sensuality, power? I dunno. I never really deliberately thought about it. So, I've been subconsciously attracted to the image of snake vs. man my whole adult life and never noticed, okay, whatever. Soon after this I'm bored and noodling around on the internet, and I finally look up this Sidereal Astrology 13th sign thing I've heard about a few times. Turns out Dec 13th makes me an Ophiuchus, the constellation of a man wrestling a huge snake. Make of that what you will.
posted by tula at 11:02 AM on January 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


No, sorry, not ready to give up my Aries status. Because then I will have to come up with new reasons why I am self absorbed, stubborn and pushy. Besides, Pisces - isn't that a water sign? How does that work? When will people stop fixing things that aren't broken? Yeah, to hell with this - I have decided the old zodiac was best, and I will hang onto it with both hands until someone drags me away kicking and screaming. No one is taking away my Aries sun sign!

Ditto this, for reals.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 11:10 AM on January 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Battklestar Galactica now makes even less sense.
posted by Artw at 11:13 AM on January 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


What are the Ophiuchus personality traits again?

Isn't it ophius?
posted by Pater Aletheias at 11:16 AM on January 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


... Well played.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 11:19 AM on January 13, 2011


I've taken astronomy classes from Parke Kunkle at MCTC. He's an exceedingly smart guy and has been trying for years to get a planetarium built on top of the new library. The old one was phenomenal and when they tore down the Minneapolis Public Library the city decided not to include a planetarium in the rebuild.
posted by Demogorgon at 11:36 AM on January 13, 2011


Switch me to freaking Pisces?! Former Ariesians unite to destroy this abomination! To arms! Let blood rain from the skies!
posted by Baby_Balrog at 11:48 AM on January 13, 2011


I refuse to be a Virgo. I'm a Scorpio, and also a Monkey (thank you, China,) and that's the best combination of all. The Babylonians can suck it.

(Also, hate to say this, but isn't the MBTI stuff at least a little better because it's descriptive rather than prescriptive? It says I'm INTJ because of how I answered a ton of questions, etc.?)
posted by SMPA at 11:56 AM on January 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I'll always be a Scorpio. You just can't take this kind of sexiness away.
posted by malocchio at 11:58 AM on January 13, 2011


LIBRA!? FUCK YOU SCIENCE!

*THROWS WINE GLASS AT THE WHELK, STARTS STINGING RANDOM MEFITES*
posted by loquacious at 12:14 PM on January 13, 2011 [4 favorites]


And here I thought my (sometimes) temperate, (sometimes) out of Sagittarian character was due to me being a Chinese Snake type. Ophiucus - I can't wait for the next person to ask me what my sign is.
posted by Xoebe at 12:15 PM on January 13, 2011


uh this is news why? Ophiuchus should be basic information to anyone who has taken an astronomy class
posted by Senator Howell Tankerbell at 12:17 PM on January 13, 2011


*crash!* LIBRAS! *crash* AVOID *Crash!* CONFLICT!
posted by The Whelk at 12:17 PM on January 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


This is ancient, truly ancient, news. Like, Age of Aquarius vintage.

Astrology 14, Your New Sun Sign, by Steven Schmidt, came out in 1970.

Schmidt added Cetus as well as Ophiuchus. Cetus is debatable, but if you consider constellations touched by the Moon and various planets, which creates a band just above and below the ecliptic, you hit Cetus too.
posted by Araucaria at 12:38 PM on January 13, 2011


The Whelk: "*crash!* LIBRAS! *crash* AVOID *Crash!* CONFLICT!"

I fear I've been doing it wrong for years, then.
posted by zarq at 12:44 PM on January 13, 2011


So all these years my horoscope has been meaningless?
posted by Bonzai at 1:08 PM on January 13, 2011


So my scorpio personality was just mental illness all this time?!
posted by cazoo at 1:11 PM on January 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


Never, ever, have any traits of my previous sign - Aquarius - made sense to me making it a no-brainer that astrology is complete bunk. And now it's still bunk but I feel better as a Capricorn.
posted by marylynn at 1:18 PM on January 13, 2011


Interesting the number of Scorpios who are annoyed by the reassignment.

(I'm not accepting it - being born in Scorpio is one of the few vaguely thrilling things about me. I'm also a Dragon. Tremble, baby, tremble.)
posted by Grangousier at 1:19 PM on January 13, 2011


Whenever anybody has asked me what my sign is, I've always replied, "I'm a Cancer. We don't believe in that shit."

Now I find I've been living a lie...
posted by steambadger at 1:22 PM on January 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


I thought that too, Grangousier, but Scorpio got cut down to just seven days, so there is more potential grar from the segment.
posted by rainbaby at 1:43 PM on January 13, 2011


From Scorpio to Virgo? Fuck this right in the ear.

I'm staying old school.
posted by Navelgazer at 2:15 PM on January 13, 2011


Capricorn? WhatEVER!! I'm going to cling to my mythological Aquarian quirkiness. That or I'll stick with my awesome Chinese sign, the tiger. Chinese years are still the same as ever, right?
posted by Go Banana at 2:21 PM on January 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Damn straight, Go Banana! At least I've still got "Monkey" to cling to.

(BTW, the Sidereal Zodiac dates according to Wikipedia overlap a hell of a lot more than this guy's version, so for instance Scorpio, like Virgo, is a month and a half, with Saggitarius being almost entirely within the same timeline.)

I'd really love to see a conference where this was hotly debated. And then I'd like to seal off the attendees from the rest of humanity.
posted by Navelgazer at 2:29 PM on January 13, 2011


@blogdiva and LA NEGRA refuse to believe that *I* in all our multifaced splendour am not a Gemini.
posted by liza at 2:29 PM on January 13, 2011


Over 100 comments, and nobody has bothered to do this?

Recasting the first line of The Shining under these new astrological terms:

Ophiuchus little prick.
posted by hippybear at 2:32 PM on January 13, 2011


A 737 passenger cabin full of Opiuchus?

SNAKES ON A PLANE
posted by norm at 2:46 PM on January 13, 2011


Time for starsign-related songs that are now totally out of date!

Well, this one's pretty dated, at least. /rocks out
posted by roobot at 3:05 PM on January 13, 2011


out of date starsign related songs?

Oh, there's really only the one that counts.

Out of date? I think not!
posted by hippybear at 3:11 PM on January 13, 2011


Not a Taurus anymore? No bull.
posted by Schlimmbesserung at 3:20 PM on January 13, 2011


Apparently, "real" Astrologers (facebook) are just sick to death of this news - they long ago abandoned the piddly implications of inverse squares law of gravity at interstellar scale and just focus on solar matters:
Every year or so, another astronomer erupts into the mainstream media with a portentous announcement about how the astrological signs aren't aligned with the actual constellations. Often the supposed 13th sign, Ophiuchus, is also invoked as a further proof of how delusional astrologers are.

What it means, according to the astronomers, is that astrology is invalid. Most of the people who think they're Tauruses are actually Aries. Most Scorpios are really Libras. And so on.

That latest misguided authority is Parke Kunkle, a board member of the Minnesota Planetarium Society. "When [astrologers] say that the sun is in Pisces," he intoned, "it's really not in Pisces." His ravings hit the Internet yesterday, on Gawker (http://bit.ly/i1VxqE) and the Minneapolis Star Tribune (http://bit.ly/f7hWwW), among other places.

I understand that scientists like him don't like to lower themselves to the task of actually doing research about how astrology works. But if they're going to snidely cast aspersion against it, they should at least learn it well enough to know what they're talking about.

Here, briefly, is the lowdown on what certain astronomers are too lazy to find out for themselves.

Thousands of years ago, when astrological and astronomical thinking were based on insufficient data, the names of the constellations happened to be paired with the astrological signs. Today, those pairings are no longer in sync: Due to the precession the equinoxes, astrological signs do not line up with the constellations in the same way they did way back then.

But that 's irrelevant to the majority of modern Western astrologers. In our work, the astrological signs are not defined by, nor do they have anything to do with, the stars or constellations. We're completely focused on what happens in our own solar system. Our relevant data are the movements of the planets within a zone defined by the relationship between the Earth and Sun.

The key demarcation points in that relationship are the equinoxes and solstices. At the Northern Hemisphere's vernal equinox, which occurs on about March 20th of each year, the Sun enters into the sign of Aries. At the Northern Hemisphere's summer solstice, the sun enters into the sign of Cancer. The locations of the constellations are irrelevant; the "influence of the stars" isn't considered at all.

When Parke Kunkle triumphantly says, "There is no physical connection between constellations and personality traits," as if he has finally stamped out the delusions of us astrologers, he doesn't realize that we agree with him completely.
Interesting note (from the RationalWiki link above) regarding exactly what effect, say, Mars might have:
As distance increases, gravitational pull decreases very dramatically; something that moves to twice as far away exerts a quarter of the gravitational pull, something three times further away exerts a ninth of the gravitational pull. Newton's law of gravitation can be used to show that, at its closest approach to Earth, the planet Mars exerts approximately the same gravitational force on a person as a 50 ton fully-loaded big rig placed 15 yards from that same person.
posted by abulafa at 3:20 PM on January 13, 2011 [5 favorites]


Since we're here, and somebody has to make up the stereotype for our new Zodiac sign, why not us?

I've got a few ideas of where to go with this.

1. Take obvious traits associated with snakes and spin them into generalized positives (or not-so-bad weaknesses)
Ophiuchi may be quiet and reserved, but their outward reticence masks a deep pensiveness and knack for patient planning. When an Ophiuchus speaks up, however, watch out! Their words can either be charming and diplomatic (sometimes to the point of duplicity) or else strike to the bone. While some may come across initially as "cold-blooded," in reality they mostly just need the warmth and support of those around them in order to thrive, making this a highly social sign, even if they aren't always at the center of the action.
2. Just take a bunch of different adjectives and slam them together as long as they don't directly contradict one another.
A truly selfless sign, Ophiuchi are highly thrifty when spending for themselves, and yet quite generous to those around them. Warm hearted and loyal, they can still be easily led to resentment over petty indignities. Creative energies abound within this sign, though they are best utilized in groups, as Ophiuchi tend to get frustrated and distracted when working alone. Ophiuchi are also open to new ideas and ways of thinking, but will want to know everything they can before changing their minds.
3. This is more of a long game here, but is designed to send any potential mates who actually buy into Astrology running for the hills.
Materialistic and rational to a fault, the Ophiuchus will tend to get explosively violent when confronted with anything imaginative or outside of his realm of understanding, especially if it involves children. He will generally only bother to clean himself for a first date, the better to present a false version of himself which he mistakenly thinks will impress others. Depending on the success of this tactic, the Ophiuchus may well be carrying one or more communicable diseases. Unemployable in the commonly accepted sense of the word, when the Ophiuchus does manage to come into money, it will usually be blown over the weekend on drugs, booze and deviant pornography. Prone to public urination.
posted by Navelgazer at 3:41 PM on January 13, 2011 [7 favorites]


Awww... from Leo to Cancer -- DAMMIT!

Everybody hates Cancers.

But I'm still a monkey, right? You can't take that away from me...

posted by mazola at 3:52 PM on January 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Has the Zodiac killer been informed? I suspect this might interest him. I don't have his phone number or email so will leave it to another mefite.
posted by snap_dragon at 4:27 PM on January 13, 2011


Sidereal Astrology has always made these adjustments. Western astrology has not.
posted by chance at 4:36 PM on January 13, 2011


FUCK THAT SHIT

SCORPIO 4 EVA
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 4:39 PM on January 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


Everybody hates Cancers.

But I'm still a monkey, right? You can't take that away from me...

this reminds me of the time I figured out that my wife's birthday was before Chinese New Year, moving her from Rat (ew) to Ox (rad).
posted by norm at 5:07 PM on January 13, 2011


Does anyone else pronounce the new symbol as "O Fuck Us"? If so, the name is unfortunately ironic.
posted by reenum at 6:19 PM on January 13, 2011


"I'm an Ophiuchus, fucker. Go on, stereotype me now!"

Hah. What an Ophiuchus thing to say.
posted by qvantamon at 6:38 PM on January 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


your zodiac sign is not wrong, from astrologer Eric Francis
posted by lakersfan1222 at 6:44 PM on January 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


This just made me more of a Virgo. I like being a Virgo, because my sign is an attractive lady with wheat.
posted by codacorolla at 7:15 PM on January 13, 2011


What is with the Virgo hate? I used to (in my younger days) know so many that we would have an annual Virgo Bacchanalia. This chart makes me more Virgo than ever. Virgos are awesome!

*THROWS WINE GLASS ACROSS ROOM*
I AM NOT A VIRGO!
posted by The Whelk at 11:04 AM

Really?
You are totally invited to next year's festivities. You might change your mind.
*THROWS WINE GLASS ACROSS ROOM*
posted by mkim at 7:21 PM on January 13, 2011


IN CHALLENGE!
posted by mkim at 7:23 PM on January 13, 2011


I'm even more a Taurus, by this calculation, which is fun. But my best astrology bit... so I ate at Chinese restaurants all the time as a kid, right, and the placemats told me I was a Rooster. Which, fine, whatever. But one day I'm bored in a bookstore and flipping through an actual book about the Chinese zodiac and it's talking about the elemental component. So I look up my birth year there.

I? Am an IRON COCK.
posted by restless_nomad at 7:31 PM on January 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


By that logic I am myself a BRASS MONKEY.

(The zodiac doesn't appear to specify which metal, it just says "metal.)
posted by Navelgazer at 7:49 PM on January 13, 2011



I? Am an IRON COCK.

that? is bragging rights.
posted by lakersfan1222 at 8:07 PM on January 13, 2011


What is with the Virgo hate? I used to (in my younger days) know so many that we would have an annual Virgo Bacchanalia.

Oh go organize shirts according to size, color, and cuffs. Virgos sheesh.
posted by The Whelk at 8:17 PM on January 13, 2011


Now now, if my history serves me correctly Virgos definitely had their place in any respectable bacchanalia.

my history probably doesn't serve me correctly
posted by Navelgazer at 8:47 PM on January 13, 2011



I'll be in the corner with all the other attractive, heavy-drinking Libras and we're all talking about you.


Except no you won't because you're a Virgo now.

Me. sheesh
posted by The Whelk at 10:17 PM on 1/13

posted by louche mustachio at 8:56 PM on January 13, 2011


I was always a Cancer, but I'm using this excuse to switch to Team Gemini. It looks like being more fun.
posted by rusty at 11:34 PM on January 13, 2011


"... at its closest approach to Earth, the planet Mars exerts approximately the same gravitational force on a person as a 50 ton fully-loaded big rig placed 15 yards from that same person."

So, poking around ... in other words, an amount so negligable as to be completely unnoticeable and less than thousands of other objects that would be around a baby at birth -- assuming a newborn weighing 4 kg, about 0.000000027 Newtons, which is significantly less than the gravitational force exerted by, say, the obstretician or midwife, who is much closer than the big rig (or Mars.) As a comparison, I believe the force of gravity exerted by the earth on that baby is about 39.2 Newtons.

And that's the closest planet at its closest point. Every other planet or Mars at any other time would be way, way less.

Well, I'm convinced!
posted by kyrademon at 3:49 AM on January 14, 2011


So what, I'm in Slytherin now? I'd better practice my lurking and evil stare.
posted by rokusan at 4:03 AM on January 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


Jeff Bridges (with whom I share a birthday, begrudgingly, although to be fair, he had it first) and I are now Ophiuchusses! We have finally cast off the archery centaurian shackles of Sagittarius for the sinuous freedom of Serpentarius (which is what we Ophiuchans prefer to be called, thank you, although it sounds even more made-up).
posted by biscotti at 4:21 AM on January 14, 2011


I grudgingly accepted Pluto's non-planetary status after much wailing and gnashing of teeth but there is NO WAY IN HELL YOU'RE TAKING MY MEDIATIN' ARTISTIC WAVY-TYPE AQUARIUS AWAY FROM ME
posted by Spatch at 4:43 AM on January 14, 2011


I was always a Cancer, but I'm using this excuse to switch to Team Gemini. It looks like being more fun.

Yeah, I'm pretty psyched by this Cancer-to-Gemini thing, too. Apparently, I get to ditch all the nurturing and loyalty and shit and be a witty, mercurial asshole. I plan to stock up on seersucker, switch from scotch to gin, and take up a new life as a boulevardier.

I have an opening for anybody who wants to follow me around and jot down my aphorisms.
posted by steambadger at 6:04 AM on January 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


Now as i understand it, they are saying the earths wobbling, and will wobble back.....therefore over time, people who were/are born on my birthdate, who thought they were Aries and now found out they are Pisces will actually start to become Aries again....?
posted by GamesRmeLife at 6:06 AM on January 14, 2011


How can I be both Aries and Taurus? I sense a BPD coming on...
posted by amicamentis at 8:24 AM on January 14, 2011


Of course it's all complete bullhocky, but when I read about this yesterday, and I saw that I wasn't a Virgo anymore but a Leo, I got! so! angry! It's WRONG! My whole LIFE I've been a Virgo, and now THEY'RE MAKING ME CHANGE!? NOT COOL, SUPERSTITION STAR SHAPES.

Then, because the site I saw linked to the day's horoscope, I looked up Leo. Its first line said, "Try not to worry over nothing."

Astrology 1, Meese 0.
posted by meese at 9:37 AM on January 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


An assertion in a Minneapolis Star Tribune article that our understanding of the zodiac is off by about a month -- and that therefore people have been identifying themselves with the wrong sign -- caught fire on the internet Thursday, and many folks are in an absolute panic on social media.
posted by christopherious at 10:57 AM on January 14, 2011


Sorry, left out the title of the above linked article: "No, your zodiac sign hasn't changed." This was just a rehash of a common and somewhat old misconception about astrology.
posted by christopherious at 10:59 AM on January 14, 2011


Nope, sticking with tempestuous, lusty Scorpio. I won't be a Libra, you can't make me. Apparently, Libras are all "oooh, I care about your needs...can't we all get along...", whereas I generally think "Why do I suffer you to live?".

Come to think of it, I think maybe I'm a Cat.
posted by dejah420 at 11:53 AM on January 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


I joked about astrology in terms of my future children before I got pregnant. Oh, I'd be fine with anything but a Pisces. And then, I got knocked up. And due right in the middle of Pisces. Fine, I said. Anything but a Pisces BOY. I've had some epically bad personality clashes there. And lo, Pisces boy.

And with this 13 sign arrangement? He's STILL GONNA BE A PISCES.

Just goes to show, astrology will find a way to personally fuck with me.
posted by sonika at 1:08 PM on January 14, 2011


Ha, okay, I don't really believe in Astrology, but purely for the amusement value, I looked up a sidereal horoscope, for my new sign, which is Aquarius. Here it is:

Aquarius - Clear out those closets. Tie up those loose ends. You don't want anything holding you back this spring when it is time for something new. For now, don't spend too much, make adjustments as they are called for and lift your spirits with noble pursuits.

Considering I have just started packing up my belongings for a spring move to a new home, and I've also been debating a costs vs. work required to make changes decision on a project I'm working on, that's kind of bizarrely on point.
posted by jacquilynne at 10:46 AM on January 15, 2011


Being the skeptical type, I fired up Stellarium (Thanks, mahershalal!) and confirmed that the Sun is in Pisces on my supposedly Aries birthday.

Srsly, though, Astrology-as-proto-Astronomy deserves enormous respect; I envy the ancients trying to make sense of the planets wandering around the ecliptic.
posted by whuppy at 8:01 PM on January 15, 2011


All due respect to the charming and venerable Bill Nye, but one aspect of his video was not only misleading but egregiously wrong: It depicted the zodiac constellations standing still with respect to the rising Sun. He should have placed the constellations along the ecliptic (i.e. the Sun's path) and shown them moving across the sky in sync with the Sun.

If you're gonna dis Astrology, you better come correct with your Astronomy.
posted by whuppy at 8:36 PM on January 15, 2011


How can I be both Aries and Taurus? I sense a BPD coming on...

That was my cusp forever. I got knocked off. Now it's your turn!
posted by functionequalsform at 8:31 AM on January 16, 2011


I find it rather strange and a little frustrating that a proper astronomer would want to spend some time debunking horoscopes. His message is clearly intented for mass media consumption, which may seem like a good thing, but I can also imagine it going the other way for a lot of people. If a scientist bothers to talk about the signs being off in astrology, maybe the rest isn't so unscientific at all! Phil Plait said it best in his reaction to this story: astrology is bull. There's nothing else to it.

But the interesting thing is that what Kunkle is talking about here is not astrology, it's magazine horoscopes. Proper astrology (ha!) is not concerned with your sign, it talks about the configuration of the heavens at a certain point in time. That does include the position of the sun against the background stars, but also that of the moon and planets. So for instance Saturn in Virgo means now is not a good time for bussiness, first pay your astrologer.

There's also the houses. The First house is the constellation that is setting (again, at this particular point in time), the Seventh is the one rising. The rest is numbered accordingly. So Mars can be in the Third house, which means watch out for carrots, etc.

The reason I explain all this to you is because (and you probably guessed it already): the whole thing is completely off. Just like the signs, it's based on Babylonian data from 2.000 years ago.

So again, check out Stellarium. It's a cool piece of astronomy software and it predicts the future far better than any astrologer ever would.
posted by mahershalal at 1:04 AM on January 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Once you're done checking out the zodiac in Stellarium, put yourself on the Earth-facing side of the Moon and watch our planet spin as you go around it and you both go around the Sun together. Hypnotic.
posted by whuppy at 7:01 AM on January 17, 2011


The Onion's in-house astrologer is feeling a little... passive-aggressive.
posted by Rhaomi at 5:10 PM on January 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


« Older The sitcom Taxi was inspired by two non-fiction ar...  |  "The [Customs and Border Patro... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments