There are actually 13 astrological signs instead of 12, meaning that 86 percent of all people were actually born under a different sign. This is old news, but Capricorns, Sagittarii, and everyone in between flipped out last week and incorrectly blamed NASA. However, the space agency would like everyone to know that they didn’t. Actually. Change. Anything.
“Did you recently hear that NASA changed the zodiac signs? Nope, we definitely didn’t,” the agency posted Tuesday on its Tumblr, which feels like the appropriate medium.
“Here at NASA, we study astronomy, not astrology,” the post — which is a masterclass on shade — continues. “We didn’t change any zodiac signs, we just did the math.” NASA then proceeds to explain that the former is a science that intelligent people devote their lives to, and the later is hooey.
“Astrology is something else,” NASA says. “It’s not science. No one has shown that astrology can be used to predict the future or describe what people are like based on their birth dates.”
NASA goes on to explain what happened. Some 3,000 years ago, the ancient Babylonians divided the Zodiac into an even 12 pieces. Each “slice” was represented by a constellation that the sun would appear to pass through at differing points of the year as the Earth orbited around the sun.
The Babylonians, NASA says, cheated a bit. The sun didn’t actually pass through each constellation for a consistent, month-long timespan. It varied immensely. On top of that, the Babylonians knew there was a thirteenth constellation, Ophiuchus, but that wouldn’t have lined up with their calendar, so they just didn’t include it. Also, the sky has shifted because Earth’s axis has changed a bit over the course of 3,000 years.
To summarize, all NASA said it did was actually show what the Zodiac really looks like. It didn’t change Zodiac signs because, honestly, NASA doesn’t give a shit about whether you’re a Leo or a Virgo since astrology isn’t real.
But … you know, if it were real, here’s what sign you’d be under with the current 13-sign Zodiac chart. NASA added the thirteenth sign, Ophiuchus, and actually noted the dates when the sun actually passes through each sign, rather than dividing them up evenly and arbitrarily. On its website, NASA explains how, since the axis of the Earth has tilted over the course of 3,000 years, the dates are slightly different than they were back then, since the path of the sun through the constellations has changed. It’s unlikely that there will be another axis tilt large enough to change the dates in our lifetimes, so the chart below is what you’re stuck with.