#Astrology Pro Tip: There Is No Thirteenth Zodiac Sign

Sidney_Hall_-_Urania's_Mirror_-_Taurus_Poniatowski,_Serpentarius,_Scutum_Sobiesky,_and_Serpens(Astrology Explored) Oh, god. What do we have to do to get it through peoples heads? I opened my Quora feed this morning to find this:

Now that NASA has re-arranged the zodiac signs, should I go by the ancient Babylonian way or the NASA way? I’m either Gemini or Taurus.

Of course, I answered. And here it is.

NASA has not rearranged the zodiac signs.

They tell you so themselves.

No, what NASA was attempting to do, through a children’s page, (updated January 2016) was to discredit astrology by saying that once upon the time, the Babylonians knew there were thirteen constellations in the zodiac but since it didn’t fit in with their astrology ignored it proving astrology is not a science, is nonsense and should be thoroughly ignored by anyone with a lick a sense.

Which only shows you that NASA should stick to what they know because the Babylonians, whose civilization started about 18th century BCE, (according to astrology antagonistic Wikipedia,) identified 17 to 18 constellations in their zodiac. Continue reading

Good #Astrology Counters Bad Astronomy Report

(Astrology Explored)

Image stars moving through the sky

Stars move through the night sky

The internet site RT Question More made a spectacular report on January 18, 2016 that five planets would align during the month of January and remain that way through February. They called event called “rare” and a “quirk” in the solar system. They based their report off an Earth Sky report of the same phenomenon. They say:

Stargazers will be able to catch a rare space show this month as five planets are due to align – although they’ll have to wake up early to see it.

According to EarthSky, Mercury, Venus, Saturn, Mars, and Jupiter will string across the sky from 20 January for around a month.

It’s the first time in more than a decade that the stellar positioning will be visible with the naked eye from Earth.

Researcher at Swinburne University in Melbourne, Dr Alan Duffy told Australian Geographic that the phenomenon is “essentially a quirk” of the universe as the five planets have different yearly cycles.

They even show a picture they grabbed off of Twitter: Continue reading

Astrology and the Apocalypse: Did the Maya Really Predict the End of the World?

(Astrology Explored) A recent TD Ameritrade commercials shows a wheels within wheels graphic representative of the Mayan calendar with the following ominious voice over:

“If you believe the Mayan calendar on December 21 polar shifts will reverse the earth’s gravitational field and will hurdle us all into space . . .”

Did the Maya really predict the world will end on December 21, 2012? There is a whole lot of people who would like to tell you so, and this astrologer personally knows of some people who seriously expect the world to end, to the point of taking an early retirement and putting their affairs in order. Continue reading

Astrology and Astronomy: The Maya System–All About the Numbers

Editor’s note: Most of the post below was published on the now defunct 451Press AstrologyExlored.com site shortly after Bruce Scofield lectured at the Astrological Society of Connecticut in April of 2009. Bruce is returning to the ASC for our March 15 lecture “2012–We Are Here, Venus transit, Sunspots, and the Maya Madness!”. (See the ASC site for more details on this lecture.)

Kukulkan Hieroglyph


In a real sense, Bruce Scofield prepared for twenty-five years to give the lecture to a small group of Astrological Society of Connecticut members. “All we have,” he says “are fragments of the astrology of the Mayans.” It is reconstructive work in progress.

Scofield is a cautious man, so cautious that he takes a full seven hours of the lecture to propose that Maya astronomy is a full fledged astrological system. This may have to do with his Saturn sitting on his ascendant, and perhaps his twelfth house Cancer Sun. In any case he lays out his case methodically with few embellishments about the mythology of the Maya. With a masters degree in history, he made connections with cultural development of the Maya to the development of other world peoples. He is quick to point out that some “New Age” authors who tie historic events with the Maya astrological system may be stretching a point. He wants to tie down the facts. Even with all his study, traditional academe does not take the work seriously, he tells us, because there is too much speculation in it.

But aside from statistics, numbers do not lie, and Maya astronomy and astrology is all about the numbers. Unlike Western astrology, which is based on planetary movements within space, the Maya system is based on cyclic patterns of blocks of time.

The Maya calendar is starts with a day called a kin (keen) but then loses its immediate connection with the solar year. Each day is connected to one of twenty day signs, each one governed by one of the four directions. According to Scofield these days signs appear to function as the ascendant and Sun sign would in Western astrology.

The Maya observed that the Moon cycles with the Sun thirteen times in one year. This gave rise to another measure of time, for which we use a spanish derivative name Trecena (for thirteenth). The trecenas mesh with the 20 days signs to give us the 260 days in the Maya religious calendar.

Bruce says of this calendar:

There is no presently known reason why the Maya and Aztecs used only 20 signs. Perhaps they had discovered an important biorhythm or cycle. But besides the 20-days, they also used a 13-day cycle (or sign) and these intertwined with each other. While the days of the 20-day cycle each have a name, the days of the 13-day cycle are numbered from 1 to 13. If you start both cycles together, the first day of the 20-day cycle coinciding with the first day of the 13-day cycle, it will take exactly 260 days for all possible combinations of day and number to occur.

It’s All About The Numbers

One of the problems of our Julian calendar is that while we think in terms of 24 hours days, the universe isn’t quite that precise. At the end of each year we are left with roughly 1/4th and some change of a day that’s left hanging out there mucking up our perfectly good solar good calendar. To handle this problem we add one day to the year every four years. Except for the people born on February 29, everyone is happy. Still, it is an imperfect solution.

The Maya on the other hand, weren’t having any of that. They were into neat and precise whole numbers. Though the Maya did not (from what we know now) have a concept of the earth revolving around the Sun, they were perfectly aware of the inconvenient 1/4th plus some of the day that hung like a dangling participle in their astronomy. Continue reading

Astronomy and Astrology: Why Astrology Should Be Taught in the Schools

Sun and PlanetAn observation by a British astronomer points to the need to teach astrology in the schools if only as a check and balance for the pronouncements of some astronomers.

On April 1, 1976 British astronomer Patrick Moore announced on BBC Radio 2 that at 9:47 AM a once-in-a-lifetime astronomical event was going to occur that listeners could experience in their very own homes. The planet Pluto would pass behind Jupiter, temporarily causing a gravitational alignment that would counteract and lessen the Earth’s own gravity. Moore told his listeners that if they jumped in the air at the exact moment that this planetary alignment occurred, they would experience a strange floating sensation. When 9:47 AM arrived, BBC2 began to receive hundreds of phone calls from listeners claiming to have felt the sensation. One woman even reported that she and her eleven friends had risen from their chairs and floated around the room.

Continue reading

Astrology And Astronomy: NASA’s Mercury Mission During Mercury Rx

NASA's Mercury Mission

NASA's Mercury Mission

“Getting there was only half the fun,” says March 2011 issue of Scientific American. Because of Mercury’s proximity to the sun’s gravitational field, a direct flight to Mercury was not possible. The craft could not slow enough to be captured by Mercury’s atmosphere. To get to Mercury required one flyby of earth, two of Venus and three of Mercury itself. Each flyby slowed the craft so at the last pass it could be caught by Mercury’s gravity. The entire trip took 6 1/2 years.

Now that MESSENGER has arrived at its destination on March 23 the measuring instruments will be turned on and checked out, and the mission’s primary science phase will begin on April 4.

The primary science objectives of the mission include:

Continue reading

Astrology and the Skeptics: An Open Letter to Dr. Rebekah Higgitt

Royal Observatory, Greenwich, UK

Royal Observatory, Greenwich, UK

(Astrology Explored)

Dr. Rebekah Higgitt,
Curator of History of Science and Technology
National Maritime Museum and Royal Observatory
Greenwich, UK

Dear Dr. Higgitt,

Recently in an BBC television show, two scientists proclaimed that “astrology was rubbish” prompting an article by you, asking whether “we should debunk astrologers more respectfully”. I am fascinated by your assertion that “Astrology as a scientific hypothesis has been put to the test and found wanting”.

There are many semantic holes in this assertion that only serves to muddy the waters.

Astrology is not a “scientific hypothesis.” It is a practice, much like the practice of medicine, so straight off the bat we are in trouble.

Maybe what you mean to say is “that the principles of astrology, when held to the light of scientific inquiry fails to yield reproducible results”.

Is that what you mean Dr. Higgitt?

Because if it is, then we run into problems again and that is there are studies that do yield reproducible results.

The most famous of these is the “Mars Effect” in which prominent athletes show a higher frequency of of Mars placed in certain sectors of their chart than statistical average.

For those unfamiliar with the astrological definition of Mars, the red planet in astrology relates to aggressiveness and competition.

Despite the fact that certain of those in the skeptic community claim to have disproved the effect, it was found that those involved with this inquiry disallowed some of Gauguelin’s data and introduced other data with a result that was more favorable to their position.

Gauquelin found that people of certain professions tend to have the same planets in these critical segments with a greater frequency than statistical average. Not only that, but he also found an effect which he titled the “theory of eminence” which holds that not only do people established in their chosen fields have a greater than statistical chance average of having those planets in these important fields. The more eminent a person is in their field, the greater the likelihood that those planets will be found in those critical segments. For example, doctors were found to have the planet of Saturn in these critical segments. If you take an average, general practice physician, the chances of he or she having Saturn in that critical position is much less than the chart of a highly prominent physician, one who is frequently published and renowned in their field. In other words, the more prominent you are in your field, the greater the chances you will have the corresponding planet in the critical field of the wheel.

Although scientists find Gauquilin’s findings very disquieting, increasingly sophisticated analysis seems to confirm, rather than disconfirm, certain of the original results. For example, in a 1986 study, the German researcher, Suitbert Ertel, reported: “A reanalysis of Gauquelin professional data using alternative procedures of statistical treatment supports previous Gauquelin results. Frequency deviations from chance expectancy along the scale of planetary sectors differ markedly between professions.” Read more about it at the William James Roots of Consciousness website.

Of course one study does not “prove” the validity of the whole of astrology, but it is far from “found wanting”. So lets look at others.

Carl Jung studied the charts of 453 couples and found that of the happily married couples with the classic aspects, (connections between planets) that indicate the opportunity for a satisfying relationship occurred three times more often than the rate of coincidence.

Jung said of this:

The chances of this actually happening are extremely improbable. Even in the first two cases, the probability works out at 1:100 x 10,000, which means that such a coincidence is to be expected only in one case out of ten million. It is improbable that it would ever happen in anyone’s experience. Yet in my statistical experiment it happened that precisely the three conjunctions stressed by astrological tradition came together in the most improbable way

And then there is this:

On December 6, 2010 Science Daily reports on a study published in the journal Natural Neuroscience that “The season in which babies are born can have a dramatic and persistent effect on how their biological clocks function.”

The experiment provides the first evidence for seasonal imprinting of biological clocks in mammals and was conducted by Professor of Biological Sciences Douglas McMahon, graduate student Chris Ciarleglio, post-doctoral fellow Karen Gamble and two undergraduate students at Vanderbilt University.

While not a study on astrology itself, it comes dangerously close to suggesting that the tropical zodiac, the zodiac based on the position of the Sun as it travels thru the seasons, actually has something behind it.

I could go on, but we don’t have all day here, so let’s move along.

Let’s play devil’s advocate for a minute and look at tests that purport to dispute the validity of astrology.

One such study found online is the NCGR/Berkeley Double-Blind Test of Astrology undertaken by Shawn Carlson and published in 1985. Shawn Carlson concluded that “we are now in a position to argue a surprisingly strong case against natal astrology as practised by reputable astrologers”.

The experiment was designed to test the astrological proposition that:
“the positions of the ‘planets’ (all planets, the Sun and Moon, plus other objects defined by astrologers) at the moment of birth can be used to determine the subject’s general personality traits and tendencies in temperament and behavior, and to indicate the major issues which the subject is likely to encounter”.

In this test volunteers took the California Personality Inventory, was given three horoscope delineations, with only one of which was the written for them, and asked to choose the one that fits their personality, as well as choosing a second choice. Of 83 subjects only 28 chose the horoscope written for them, which was on par with chance.
But wait! To check the subjects ability to self evaluate their personality types the subjects were given three CPI evaluations and asked to pick out their own. In a subject sample even smaller than the first, the subjects did not choose their own personality profile in numbers that were not statistically significant. Calling this result “disappointing” Carlson writes “”if subjects cannot recognise accurate descriptions of themselves at a significant level then the experiment would show a null result however well astrology worked”

Carlson then moves on to the astrologers and ask them to choose the correct CPI out of three to the natal chart of each subject. The astrologers faired no better than chance when the astrologers themselves predicted they could match 50% of the profiles. From this Carlson arrived at the conclusion that astrology failed. But here again is there is a fly in the ointment.

Though Carlson claimed that natal astrology performed no better than chance, a number of authoritative sources including Professor Hans Eysenck of London University (1986) [6]have shown that this conclusion was faulty. Recent evidence now shows that the part of the test that was valid (according to Carlson) shows evidence that favours astrology to a statistically significant level in spite of many disadvantages that the astrologers faced.

And remarkably, Dr. Carlson is not a psychiatrist or psychologist but a mathematician and physicist so he shouldn’t have gotten the numbers wrong. But the study itself was funded by the skeptics group CSICOPS, and for that group, no other conclusion but to declare astrology invalid, is possible.

All people are entitled to their opinions, and if some people prefer to think that astrology is rubbish, scientist or no, that is their right. However, as an astrology blogger friend said “The general opinion of people doesn’t make for good evidence.” To veil opinion with the mantle of scientific certainty is not only self-serving it is just wrong.

So Dr. Higgitt, despite your very nice attempt to debunk us astrologers respectfully, we respectfully submit that we are not in need of debunking. But thanks for the thought.

Image published under a Creative Commons License from Flickr.

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Astrology 101: Why Astrologers Aren’t Concerned About a 13th Sign



(Astrology Explored) Astrologers watched in bemusement and surprise that the internet literally blew up over a astronomer and community college professor Parke Kunkle’s pronouncement that “the earth had shifted” resulting in the magical creation of 13th zodiac sign, Ophiuchus, otherwise known as “the snake handler”. In fact, according to the SU Spectator reports that an unprecedented 17 out of 20 search queries were zodiac related. Astrologers were besieged with questions about Ophiuchus in every setting from television interviews to this astrologer’s experience, a funeral.

It is reported that about a quarter of the U. S. population “believes” in astrology and many more read their daily horoscope for hah hahs everyday. Clearly there is something to this astrology thing if it engages so many people. Yet what you see in the newspapers is just a tiny portion of what astrology is all about.

If you were to see an astrologer, what he or she does is take three pieces of information: your birth date, your birth time and your birthplace. Using either a computer or good old fashioned math and a three reference works, the astrologer will draw a map of heavens at the time of your birth. In a very real sense this map, called a natal chart, shows the Universe as it revolves around you. Every single planet in our solar system and a few mathematical points talk about your personality and how you act and react in the world. Some important points are:

Your ascendant—A mathematical point, the ascendant is the zodiac sign at the time on the horizon at the time of your birth. It governs your physical appearance and the first impression you give other people. The degree of the ascendant changes roughly every four minutes. You can be a Taurus and have Scorpio on the ascendant, or a Taurus with Leo on the ascendant, still be a Taurus, but be perceived by other people in vastly different ways.

Your Sun—What many people know as their “sign” the Sun is central player in the astrological chart. It is your core identity from which you draw many essential personality traits.

Your Moon—The moon moves swiftly through the zodiac signs each month spending roughly two and a half days in each sign. The moon represents your emotional center, your security needs, your early nurturing experience and how you feel about things. A Taurus with Scorpio on the ascendant and a Pisces Moon has a far different view of the world than a Taurus with a Leo ascendant and their moon in Aquarius.

These three elements, the ascendant, the Sun and the Moon, are the Big Three in the map of the heavens at the time of your birth charting your basic identity by not only the zodiac signs each of these points occupy but by their relationship to each other. These relationships are called aspects and range from easy connections to challenging. It is why you may feel one thing about something and act another way. And here is the kicker about aspects—they represent a significant portion of how you operate in the world. Sometime the aspects that planets make to each other nearly outweigh the zodiac sign in which the planets are placed.

But wait—there’s more!

Each of the other planets in the solar system has something to say about you as well. Mercury talks about your thinking processes, Mars represents your survival instincts and your sexual drive, Venus, your value systems, Saturn, your duties and responsibilities, Jupiter, your sense of social justice, Uranus, your unique gift to the world, Neptune, your spirituality and Pluto, what you need to transform in your life.

Is your head spinning yet?

We haven’t even talked about the houses, the two hour divisions of the twenty-four hour day that govern different portions of life on earth. Which house each of the planets tenant flavor the interpretation of that planet.

And then—

There is plethora of astrological techniques, types of charts and a slew of other things that add depth and meaning to an astrological reading, as if we needed more. But we do, because you come to us with questions about all parts of your life, from whether or not a relationship will work, whether you’ll get that new job, when you will have babies, and anything else that life throws at you.

Astrology is a complex study that few attempt and even fewer master. Maybe this is why so few people know that zodiac signs you know and love so well are based on the seasons and not the constellations. So yes, we do understand, in a certain way, the appeal a simple Sun sign horoscope has for most people. But you are more to you than just your Sun sign which is why astrologers aren’t really concerned about a 13th zodiac sign.

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Astrology and Astronomy: The Starry Reasons Ophiuchus Raises His Head

Glyph of Ophiuchus

Glyph of Ophiuchus

(Astrology Explored) Of all the things that seem strange in this world, one of the strangest is this.

Why would a statement about commonly known astronomical phenomena, by a Community College professor, no less, cause a worldwide stir?

Astronomer Parke Kunkle’s assertion that a new zodiac sign should be added to the 12 constellations that we know as the zodiac has caused quite a bit of consternation and confusion among enthusiasts of astrology who took this bit of information to mean that that the zodiac had actually changed causing a new sign added to the pantheon of zodiac signs. This consternation has been fueled by the media, which ran with this story like the jockey who rode Secretariat.

Professor Kunkle professes surprise at the media attention and demurs this in an interview with Charlie Jane Anders in which Anders reports:

“And no, Parke Kunkle didn’t 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. (He highly recommends Phil Plait’s page about astrology.) He did mention that astronomers tend to reckon the sun’s position with 13 constellations instead of 12, and Ophiuchus is the 13th.”

But make no mistake, in the in Minnesota Planetarium Society Facebook page Kunkle’s statement mentions horoscopes specifically and the dates of the “New Zodiac” and affirms this in a comment with:

“This is factual. The sun being “in” a constellation is accurately described by this chart and no one would dispute the fact. Whether this poses any issue for the purported relation between the position of planets – and the sun – and human personalities or fates, is strictly in the domain of non-science.”

For astronomers and astrologers alike this an old story, a 2,000 year old story, in fact. It is so old in fact, that the Ophiuchus debate was settled that long ago.

Astrologer Jack Fertig responded to this as a comment on the Minnesota Planetarium Facebook page:

“Astrologers have answered this one so many times we can only suspect that the astronomers who repeat this canard are being intellectually dishonest.”

So the question remains, why Parke Kunkle out the ranks of everyday and world-class astronomers alike and why now?

Sleuthing Professor Kunkle’s birth data is no easy task. Up to now he wasn’t a public figure. To get even a smidgeon of data this astrologer did what she rarely does; take the information from a paid public database.

The date retrieved was March 8, 1946. Since it is not from a birth certificate and not from the person or family members, this information is rated on the Rodden scale as DD (dirty data). (Anyone who can confirm or deny this date or give additional details please leave a comment.)

Of course this leaves us without a birth time and a birthplace. This means that for the purposes of interpretation we have to ignore house placements, the ascendant and the moon. What we are left with are the planets except for the moon, and the aspects between them.

Parke Kunkle has his Sun in the dreamy sign of Pisces conjunct Venus. This is a potent combination. Pisces has a rich reputation, straddling as it does the depths of both heaven and hell. It can either be a sinner, saint or both, and because of Pisces chameleon like demeanor we may not know which until it is too late. What we love about Pisces is their infinite compassion for the human condition and their willingness to help even on hopeless causes. It is known that Pisces are suckers for a sob story, even their own. What frustrates us with Pisces is that their sense of reality is often quite stretched, not matching that of other people in their immediate world. With the planet of beauty and love sitting along side his Sun, people like him. He is charming, caring and in general a helpful guy. His Mercury though is in fleet footed Aries, which gives him a tendency to be the victim of what I call tongue-in-cheek of foot-in-mouth disease. Aries likes a good argument, just to get the juices flowing. Unfortunately for Professor Kunkle, his Sun, Venus, and Mercury combination is in stress aspect to his natal Jupiter, Chiron, and Neptune. This isn’t the first time Professor Kunkle has said a few things that are a little out there, and won’t be the last. Unfortunately, Saturn the planet of duty, responsibility and limitations sits on this last combination. Saturn here maybe making him look like an authority on the subject, but ultimately brings a few slings and arrows all on its own.

The only aspect one can find that might be related to fame is the progressed moon transiting Kunkle’s natal Neptune. Neptune in some fashion is often prominent in the charts of public figures since it lends charisma and magnetism. However, as Carol Rushman says, “ Neptune is also the plant of illusion, delusion, elusion and confusion . . . You see life through a veil, not as it is . . .”

But as it turns out, this isn’t about Professor Kunkle at all. It just so happens that transiting Mercury in the last decan of Sagittarius is crossing over the fixed star Ras Alhague, which is the head of Ophiuchus at 23° Sagittarius. Transiting Jupiter, the planet that pushes things over the top, transiting Uranus the planet of the unexpected makes a challenge aspect to transiting Mercury, illustrating the misinformation that spread rapidly. Where Professor Kunkle comes in is that his South Node, the planet of the past and Karma, and his Sun, Venus and Mercury combination is caught up in the transiting positions making him a channel for the voice of long denied Ophiuchus.
Horoscope Chart Professor Kunkle and Zodiac Interview

Astrology and Astronomy: The Ophiuchus Debate

Kepler's Rendition of Ophiuchus

Kepler's Rendition of Ophiucus

(Astrology Explored) Why you don’t add every Tom, Dick and Ophiuchus to your Zodiac Wheel

Astronomer Parke Kunkle has discovered there are other constellations in the sky besides the twelve we are familiar with. He is so impressed with his discovery that he wants to add a new zodiac sign to the pantheon, Ophiuchus, the snake handler. He has gotten a lot of people riled up wondering what is their zodiac sign. Talk about identity crisis! This is his reasoning:

“The Earth spins and, like a toy top, the spin axis moves around, pointing in different directions. Today, Earth’s spin axis points toward the pole star, Polaris. Around 3000 BC Earth’s spin axis pointed toward Thuban. Wait 26,000 years and the north star will again be Thuban. Astronomers call this motion of the spin axis precession. About 130 BC, Hipparchus noticed that the Earth’s spin axis had changed directions, so astronomers and astrologers have known about the Earth’s precession for over 2000 years. 

“But this means that if the sun was “in” a certain constellation on a particular date, it is in a different constellation on that date today. For example, the sun was in Pisces on March 1, 2000 BC but it is in Aquarius on March 1, 2011 AD.”

Not so fast, Professor Kunkle

When the original zodiac was named the first day of spring, the vernal equinox aligned with the Sun’s entrance into the constellation of Aries. Of course the ancients were well aware that there were many more constellations in the sky than twelve, but what makes these twelve constellations so special was that the sun appeared to be traveling through them. This was a powerful observation as the apparent path of the sun moved a smidgeon less than one degree each day almost matching the 360 degrees we mark in a circle. In a year then the Sun appeared to travel through twelve constellations to come back to the first day of spring. This was how the zodiac wheel we know so well was defined. Everything appeared to mesh, a Universe that ran in synch with the movement of our sun.

But the Earth is a bad actor

We all know what happens when a top spins. Eventually as it slows, it wobbles. Well, the earth wobbles too, and the result of this wobbling is that, as Professor Kunkle points out where the Earth axis point to true north has changed. But unfortunately for Professor Kunkle the whole debate about how astrologers define the zodiac was decided two millennia ago, when ancient astrologers realized the constellations in the sky didn’t align with the first day of spring. What made more sense to the astrologers of the day, in a civilization powered by the planting and harvesting of crops was to keep the year in as divided by the equinoxes. Each 30 degree slice of the movement of the sun retained the names of the zodiac sign for which they were originally named. This is what we call the tropical zodiac. And despite the fact that the tropical zodiac does not align with the constellations of today, the characteristics of we associate with those zodiac signs hold true today, suggesting that it is the movement of the sun, not the constellations themselves that give each of the zodiac signs their special joie de vivre.

Now some of you with a more detailed understanding of astrology and/or astronomy are asking, “Yes, but Vedic astrologers use the sidereal zodiac. Wouldn’t Kunkle’s argument affect them?” Well, no, boys and girls, because Kunkle’s argument has another flaw and that has to do where Ophiuchus is placed in the heavens.

So where does this Ophiuchus character come in?

Ophiuchus as a constellation is said to be between Sagittarius and Scorpio. However, take a look at this star map as rendered by Nasa. You will note that the traditional zodiac signs have the main body of their stars at or very near the plane the ecliptic, the apparent path of the Sun. However, even today, with all the earth’s wobbling, our buddy, Ophi, by comparison has the bulk of his stars set off quite a bit from the plane of the ecliptic. Granted a few of his snaky parts cross over the line, but close enough is only good in the game of horseshoes. Sadly our pal Ophi is rather like the Harry Potter character Nearly Headless Nick who is excluded from the yearly Headless Hunt because his head is not totally detached. But who knows, even among astrologers this debate exists, though as it stands we aren’t looking to change any astrology textbooks any time soon.

Of Course

Professor Kunkle knows all this. I rather suspect that he is taking pot shots at astrologers, who most astronomers despise because we are not “scientific”. In fact he is quoted as saying:

”In science we deal with a long tradition of fact based investigation. We are not in the business of interpreting the purported relation between the positions of planets and human affairs.

And for all the media attention his pronouncements has garnered:

“I’m having a blast,” Kunkle said. “among other things it calls attention to astronomy.”

So guys and gals

Relax. You are still the zodiac sign you were born with. Your friendly neighborhood astrologer says so.

Nasa Map of Constellations

Ophiuchus image published under a public domain image as described by Wikipedia.

Nasa Map of Constellations for the Northern Hemisphere in June published as a public domain image.

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