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Saturday
Jan152011

New Zodiac Signs 2011: Debunking a Zodiac Controversy

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- An astrological controversy erupted online Thursday after a newspaper article erroneously suggested that the dates that determine the Zodiac signs had shifted by about a month, throwing millions of believers into self-doubt and panic.

Fear not: your sign remains the same.

The tilt of the Earth's axis has gradually shifted since the ancient times when the Babylonians determined the dates of the Zodiac. The calendrical rejiggering also supposedly re-introduced a sign discarded by the Babylonians: Ophiuchus, alternatively called Serpentarius.

But astrologers and astronomers agree that this is old news. About 3,000 years old. Western astrologers included the wobble of the Earth's axis in their calculations centuries ago.

"Astronomers have known about this since 130 BC. Hipparchus was able to determine that this would happen," says Parke Kunkle, a board member of the Minnesota Planetarium Society. "It astounds me that this has taken off the way it has in the last day or two."

The popular astrologer Susan Miller called the news "ridiculous." In an interview with ABC News, she said, "We've known about this for ages. The constellations don't suggest what's coming up, it's the planets! The constellations are a measuring device."

In short, your astrological sign has not changed.

What has changed, subtly and very gradually, is the tilt of the earth's axis as it revolves around the sun.
If you watch a spinning toy top, explains Kunkle, you will see its axis wobble. That's called precession. The Earth's axis does the same thing. It's currently facing Polaris, often called the North Star, but 3,000 years ago it was pointing at an obscure star called Thuban.

In an August 2009 Pew poll, 25 percent of Americans said they believed in astrology; 71 percent said they did not.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio