#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.

This is not to mention that the Babylonians did not practice horoscopic astrology but rather used fixed stars for predictions. Horoscopic astrology (the kind that gives you your “sign”)called Hellensitic astrology, according to Wikipedia did not come into practice until the late 200 to early 100 BCE though astrologer and astrological historian Robert Hand cites a reference to a horoscopic chart dated to 410 BCE.

And for some odd reason, some news articles infer that astrologers have changed the zodiac signs. I assure this has not happened.

All this nonsense started in January of 2011 when Minnesota community college astronomy professor Parke Knuckle (who is apparently inspired by skeptic Phil Plait) announced that he and another professor “discovered the ‘wobble’ in the Earth’s axis caused by the moon the dates of the signs were changed by around a month.”

If you are scratching your head at this assessment so were the thousands of astrologers around the world.

Astrologer Jeff Jawer (RIP) wrote this on Facebook:

Jeff Jawer

January 13, 2011,

A story is going around stating that the signs of the zodiac astrologers use are wrong. This is not true. The signs have been based on the seasons, not the constellations, for over 2000 years. The source at the Minnesota Planetarium Society that put out this misinformation is either ignorant or lying. Please contact the organization at help@minnesotaplanetarium.org or 612-659-6222 to request a retraction.

Update: Oh, imagine that. The post has mysteriously disappeared. Here is another source of Jeff Jawer’s observation:

Jeff Jawer Minnesota Planetarium Society


And I wrote these two articles on the subject:

Astrology and Astronomy: The Starry Reasons Ophiuchus Raises His Head

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

Despite the inaccuracies in Professor Kunkle’s assertions, the story spread like wildfire and rumble around in the collective unconscious.

This is why we all need to investigate the claims made by others to a.) determine the validity of the claim. b.) to determine who it is that makes these claims and why.

To repeat.

NASA did not reorder the zodiac.

Astrologers did not reorder the zodiac.

There is no 13th sign in astrology. Period.

Image downloaded from Wikimedia Commons as a public domain image from this source: This image is available from the United States Library of Congress’s Prints and Photographs division under the digital ID cph.3g10061.

This entry was posted in Astrology and Astronomy, Astrology and Science, Skeptics and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.