Why Your Horoscope is Wrong
Realignment of the Heavens
By Charles Moffat - May 2011.
If you're wondering why your horoscope always seems to be a bit off, or if you're thinking your personality is a tad different from what your astrological sign has been telling you most of your life, there might be a reason for it.
According to scientists and professional astrologers the heavens are in constant motion and over thousands of years the stars above someone born on June 21st 4,000 BC will be dramatically different from someone born on June 21st 2,000 AD.
And its not just that the stars are moving. Our planet, our sun, our whole solar system, heck our galaxy is moving. Often at speeds difficult to estimate. And while some of things stay reasonably relative (ie. the North Star) other things have changed dramatically over the last couple thousand years. The sun moves around within the galaxy, a trip which takes 26,000 years to complete. On the way we pass by 13 constellations.
Thanks to the Earth's movement (and constant wobble) astrological signs are a bit inaccurate compared to when they first determined over 2,500 years ago in Babylon (which the Greeks later adapted). Your strological sign is determined by the position of the sun relative to specific constellations on your day of birth. The problem however is that the stars have shifted in the night sky so much that horoscope signs are nearly a month off.
"Astrology tells us that the sun is in one position, whereas astronomy tells us it's in another position," says Joe Rao, SPACE.com's skywatching columnist and a lecturer at New York's Hayden Planetarium.
The shift is caused by the movement in the Earth's axis (precession) caused by the gravitational attraction of the moon. Earlier in January 2011 Minnesota Planetarium Society board member Parke Kunkle told the press about the gap between the astrological and the astronomical view. Parke Kunkle, who teaches astronomy at Minneapolis Community and Technical College, explained precession, and how the science involved is centuries old, and how astronomers have known about the inaccuracies with respect to astrology for centuries now. Thanks to the mass media and the internet the story spread around the world quickly, but it's actually old news to both astronomers and professional astrologers, Rao says.
Such old news that some astrologers have simply "adapted" their descriptions of astrological signs so they're more accurate, without actually changing the name. So if you're a Leo, your description starts looking more like a Cancer. Its just kind of vague so that the reader can just assume its accurate to their personality.
"The earliest known astronomer to recognize and assess the movement of precession was Aristarchus of Samos, who lived around 280 B.C.," Rao says.
Here's what we know: The Earth is like a wobbly top. As it rotates, its axis swings in a circle, pointing in different directions. As the Earth's position shifts, so does our perspective of the night sky and the constellations.
Rao says we take the North Star, Polaris, for granted. It's the star most closely aligned with Earth's North Pole. But back when the pyramids were constructed, the star that aligned with the North Pole wasn't Polaris at all: It was just a star in the constellation Draco called Thuban. But it keeps moving a tiny bit every year, so astronomers every so often pick a new North Star. In 12,000 years, Earth's North Star will be Vega, the brightest star in the constellation Lyra.
The complete rotation of all the constellations takes 26,000 years, according to Rao. "Everything in the sky is in flux," he says.
Of course all of this assumes you even believe in Astrology and whether or not it actually effects the day-to-day existence of people. One 2006 study published in the journal "Personality and Individual Differences" used data from more than 15,000 people and found no relationship between date of birth and personality. But hey, as belief structures go, Astrology is pretty harmless. As long as we're not using it as a basis for mass genocide.
Despite the complete lack of evidence for astrology, 25% Americans still believe in it, according to a Pew survey.
According to Astronomers we should also be using the original 13 astrological signs, based on the 13 constellations. The proper list includes Ophiuchus, a formation the ancient Babylonians used but was later discarded because some cultures wanted 12 star signs instead of 13.
The 13 Constellations / Astrological Signs according to Astronomers & Professional Astrologers
November 29th to December 17th
Ophiuchus people crave authority, power, the ability to make changes, to be friends with other people in power. As children they seek to be the favourite of parents and teachers and are prone to jealousy when they are not. If given too much power they can become mad dictators or mad scientists, sometimes developing a strange fascination or obsession with their enemies or anyone else who gets in their way. Despite this drive, Ophiuchus have the ability to bring about much good in the world, but must learn to resist the temptation for attention.
People born under the sign of Ophiuchus like to wear vibrant colours, mixes of colours, stripes and plaids. They like large families and many friends. They enjoy interpreting things, puzzles, games and riddles. They are often poetic.
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