Truth on 13th zodiac sign, Ophiuchus, lost in translation

Posted on Jan 14 by Tatiana under


The media reports on the 13th zodiac sign and the change in the zodiac calender has sent thousands into an astrological identity crisis. However, the real meaning seems to have been lost in translation.
Amid the snowballing commotion over the perceived proposition of the 13th Zodiac sign, several astrologers are trying to calm the panicky astrology-believers with assurances that nothing has really changed in their stars. Meanwhile, the astronomer who began the whole ordeal, has also come out to clarify that he never contended that Ophiuchus ought to be added to the existing list of 12 signs.
Birth in ancient Babalonian formulation
It all began with astronomer Parke Kunkle’s interview to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, during which the board member of the Minnesota Planetarium Society told the publication of how ancient Babylonians formulated the zodiac signs.
Kunkle explained that Babylonians based zodiac signs on the constellation the sun was ‘in’ on the day a person was born. As millenniums passed by, the moon’s gravitational pull has made the Earth “wobble” around its axis, creating about a one-month bump in the stars’ alignment, Kunkle is quoted as saying in the January 9 report.
“When they [astrologers] say that the sun is in Pisces, it’s really not in Pisces,” Kunkle said, indicating that most horoscope readers may be reading the wrong predictions and may be rationalizing their behavior on wrong traits.
Kunkle, who teaches astronomy at Minneapolis Community and Technical College, also stated that there is no physical connection between constellations and personality traits.
“Sure, we can connect harvest to the stars. But personality? No.”
With the Kunkle’s remark that people are no longer looking at the sky to understand astrology, the report concluded on a thought-provoking note stating that this could be the reason why sometimes “why a day might not have turned out exactly as predicted.”
Frenzied Growth…
This report was interpreted variedly and thrown out to the public from several media outlets, with headlines such as ‘Horoscope Hang-Up: Earth Rotation Changes Zodiac Signs’ and ‘Your zodiac sign may have changed’. With the reports of the new sign called Ophiuchus, placed between the Scorpio and Sagittarius, and a drastic change in the zodiac calender, the excitement was bound to follow.
While initial reactions were that of shock, people gradually began to question the 13th zodiac sign as the media also has begun “debunking” it.
leiya_h tweeted: “What the hey…according to the bew zodiac I should be a Sagitarius…no way! I like being a Capricorn! Am so siding up w/ CNN debunking it!”
The cynicism and humour were also abundant. Famous stand-up comedian, Dane Cook tweeted, “According to the “new zodiac” my sign (Pisces) is still the same. Phew…”
“Reading the reactions from zodiac believers is hilarious; they don’t want to accept that the stars now say they are lame and gullible,” posted a user, Max Kalifornia.
The tech-lovers chose to stick with what their gadgets had to say. StevieStarface (Stevie Leigh) wrote, “My (scary accurate) horoscope app on my phone says the #zodiac hasn’t changed, so everyone can shut up now =]”
The Possible Demise?
Even before the media operation to debunk the whole thing kick started, several astronomers had already begun to rubbish the claims and clarify that the 13th sign would not change anything.
Terry Nazon, the World Famous Celebrity Astrologer, continuously questioned the issue on Twitter.
In an attempt to prompt a response from Dr Brian Cox, British particle physicist, Nazon posted, “Let’s ask a real Astros physicist not a flunkie@ProfBrianCox what do you think about this 13th zodiac sign Ophiuchus and the Earth & Sun’s transit.”
This was followed by two other similar tweets over the span of few hours.
“We need a real Astros physicist to chime in not some astronomer Delma technical school …..right”
“Where are the Harvard astronomers???”
Her latest tweet rubbished the whole 13th sign theory, stating, “The ancient Babylonians knew about hundreds of constellations the knew about the Serpentarius.12 signs, 12 apostles, 12 tribes of Israel.”
Meanwhile, another expert astrologer Rick Levine refuted that Ophiuchus had anything at all to do with Astrology.
“It’s not an Astrology issue. It has to do with the stars — it’s not a sign, it’s a constellation,” he is quoted as saying in
“There are four seasons each with a beginning, middle and end. That makes 12 zodiac signs, and there’s no such thing as a 13th astrological sign.”
Explaining what Ophiuchus is, Levine said, “Ophiuchus is a large modern constellation commonly represented as a man grasping the snake represented by the constellation Serpens.”
“It’s just a constellation. Even the founding text for Astrology (Tetrabiblos by Claudius Ptolemy written 170 AD only mentions 12 signs.) A few astrologers who practice the controversial sidereal (consellation-based) zodiac use it as the 13th zodiacal sign – and by a few we mean about 1 percent,” he asserted.
What’s more? Kunkle himself has come out with a clarification stressing that he did not tell the Star-Tribune that the zodiac ought to include 13 signs instead of 12 – especially since he doesn’t believe in astrology at all.
The astronomer told Mad Science, “I just mentioned that it’s there, and astronomers actually count it… So if you actually watch the stars in the background of the sun, it actually does go through the constellation of Ophiuchus.”

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