No, your zodiac sign hasn't changed
January 13th, 2011
10:11 PM ET

No, your zodiac sign hasn't changed

Tattoo parlor owners must be salivating. An assertion in a Minneapolis Star Tribune article that our understanding of the zodiac is off by about a month - and that therefore people have been identifying themselves with the wrong sign - caught fire on the internet Thursday, and many folks are in an absolute panic on social media.

"If my zodiac symbol has been changed to a Libra, what am I supposed to do with my Scorpio tattoo?!?!," read one tweet Thursday.

Some vowed to get their tats removed. Others groaned about losing the sign with which they’ve identified themselves for years. The zodiac and related terms - including Ophiuchus, said to be a 13th and neglected sign - were trending Twitter topics much of Thursday.

But before astrology fans scrape the ink from their arms because they think they're now a Virgo instead of a Libra, they should consider this: If they adhered to the tropical zodiac - which, if they're a Westerner, they probably did - absolutely nothing has changed for them.

That's worth rephrasing: If you considered yourself a Cancer under the tropical zodiac last week, you're still a Cancer under the same zodiac this week.

That's because the tropical zodiac - which is fixed to seasons, and which Western astrology adheres to - differs from the sidereal zodiac - which is fixed to constellations and is followed more in the East, and is the type of zodiac to which the Star Tribune article ultimately refers.

Two zodiacs. That's nothing new.

"This story is born periodically as if someone has discovered some truth. It's not news," said Jeff Jawer, astrologer with

The hubbub started with Sunday's Star Tribune article, which said the following: "The ancient Babylonians based zodiac signs on the constellation the sun was 'in' on the day a person was born. During the ensuing millenniums, the moon’s gravitational pull has made the Earth 'wobble' around its axis, creating about a one-month bump in the stars' alignment."

"When [astrologers] say that the sun is in Pisces, it’s really not in Pisces," Parke Kunkle, a board member of the Minnesota Planetarium Society, told the Star Tribune.

"Indeed," the article continued, "most horoscope readers who consider themselves Pisces are actually Aquarians." The article also asserts Scorpio's window lasts only seven days, and that a 13th constellation, Ophiuchus, used to be counted between Scorpio and Sagittarius but was discarded by the Babylonians because they wanted 12 signs per year.

True enough, Jawer says, the sun doesn't align with constellations at the same time of year that it did millennia ago. But that’s irrelevant for the tropical zodiac, codified for Western astrology by Ptolemy in the second century, he says.

In the tropical zodiac, the start of Aries is fixed to one equinox, and Libra the other.

"When we look at the astrology used in the Western world, the seasonally based astrology has not changed, was never oriented to the constellations, and stands as … has been stated for two millenniums," Jawer said.

People who put stock in astrology can ask whether they should adhere to the tropical zodiac or the sidereal zodiac. Jawer argues for the tropical.

"Astrology is geocentric. It relates life on Earth to the Earth’s environment, and seasons are the most dramatic effect, which is why we use the tropical zodiac," he said.

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Filed under: Space
soundoff (1,485 Responses)
  1. Observer

    I have the most psychotic pets ever! My goldfish is a Leo and my cat is a Pisces.

    January 14, 2011 at 10:57 am | Report abuse |
  2. Enlight

    i hope you all enjoy reveling in what you believe to be disproved by science, but the truth is, science can neither prove nor disprove anything.
    In order to do that, you would need an infinite number of trials. This is the very reason science is complete BS, because in the limit, you know nothing.

    Now as for astrology, it is accurate because it is accurate; it doesn't matter how you were born. if you assume that astrology knows all, it could account for things our brain could not (ie. a c-section).

    If you are going to make an argument against something like a law of nature, you must assume that the law of nature isn't, by definition, susceptible to mistakes. IS IT REALLY THAT DIFFICULT OF A CONCEPT?

    January 14, 2011 at 10:58 am | Report abuse |
    • Observer

      What incredible nonsense. If science required an impossible infinite number of trials, then there is no reason for you to take any medicine or use anything designed through science including the Internet. It is amazing to see that anyone could be so blind to reality. Science isn't perfect, but it constantly searches for truth unlike anyone ridiculous enough to believe that all signs make up equal parts of the heavens.

      January 14, 2011 at 11:44 am | Report abuse |
  3. Idiots

    If you were born before 2009, which I'm guessing the most of you are, then your sign hasn't changed. You got your sign depending on where the sun was when you were BORN. That hasn't changed. Plus, anyone that takes this seriously is in an idiot. Don't forget the experiment some teacher did where he gave all his students the same "horoscope" and they all thought it described them pefectly.

    January 14, 2011 at 10:59 am | Report abuse |
    • Enlight

      just because you can make general statements that describe people doesn't mean when one searches out an horoscope, the one they find will not be accurate.

      January 14, 2011 at 11:06 am | Report abuse |
    • Observer

      Anyone can have someone take the horoscope for each day, delete the signs, and scramble them and try to pick which was theirs. Good luck.

      January 14, 2011 at 11:47 am | Report abuse |
    • Enlight

      instead of saying "anyone can" you must actually do it to prove it.

      sorry but your psuedoscience is not welcome here.

      January 14, 2011 at 12:50 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Anatasia Sonnenburg

    The slow precession of the earth's wobble is called the Great, Cosmic or Platonic year and equals 25,860 earth's years. In ancient Maya mythology,

    January 14, 2011 at 11:05 am | Report abuse |
    • thelatinist

      Yes, and it has no more effect on our "destiny" than does the location of the sun in relation to some arbitrary collections of unrelated stars.

      January 14, 2011 at 1:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sky observer

      The original article stated the wobble is caused by the gravitational pull of the moon. That is incorrect. The wobble is a natural occurrence given a spinning object such as the earth. Remember spinning tops and gyroscopes? As they spin around, their axis slowly moves in a circle. For the earth, that is the cycle to which Anatasia refers.

      January 14, 2011 at 1:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • No God

      Okay to all the people out there that believe in any holy book. Man wrote the bible which means its a book of lies because men are sinners. And about the monkey ordeal....just like there are different types of dogs there are different types of monkeys and millions of years ago these monkeys started changing into what we are today. Animals change to there environment just as humans do. Why do you think people have different skin color?? Was "God" choosing to make black people a different color just for the hell of it??? And did you know the birth of christ wasn't wrote down till 300 years after 0 A.D. they chose December 25 because only sons of god in the area were born on December 25 and was crucified and were called saviors of humanity and cured the sick and the blind. So tell me if these sons of gods came because christ then why should I believe the bible and not the other religions that tell the same story?! There is no god....

      January 14, 2011 at 2:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • To "No God"

      Do you realize that what you said has basically nothing to do with this article?
      Not only that, but you sound exactly as a vehement religious follower would: "My way is the only way."
      It is ignorant, obnoxious, and just plain dumb to try to force your opinion upon hundreds of faceless people.
      Next time you comment on an article, please make it be ABOUT the article. Thank you.*
      *Yes, I do realize my hypocrisy, but I can't help it. Bigotry is annoying.

      January 14, 2011 at 2:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kevin

      @NO GOD – Educated Atheists around the world are shaking their heads at your lack of knowledge in this department. If you need to make yourself appear educated, pick up a book first, and stop using WIKI.

      January 14, 2011 at 2:27 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Instrumental


    January 14, 2011 at 11:05 am | Report abuse |
    • King City

      Just like the Bible or any other religion! They are all myths.

      January 14, 2011 at 11:13 am | Report abuse |
    • nate

      @Instrumental: so has every other society

      January 14, 2011 at 11:29 am | Report abuse |
    • Respect

      Kingcity, you are a myth. What do you know about anything? Atheists=non-existant

      January 14, 2011 at 12:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Observer


      Possibly the most idiotic equation ever.

      January 14, 2011 at 12:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Scott Rosenberg

      The bible is a myth?? Last time I checked it was a compilation of recorded history with exception of some of the early parts of the Old Testament.

      January 14, 2011 at 12:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bible

      @KingCity, the Bible is not a myth! It is a book containing the Word of God.

      January 14, 2011 at 12:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Myth

      @bible, "It is a book containing the Word of God." A god who (apparently) couldn't actually write any of the words himself, so he left it to the imperfect humans to write them several hundred years after god's dramatic Earth cameo.

      January 14, 2011 at 12:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Todd

      That's why I gave up on democracy, after all Ancient Greece fell.

      January 14, 2011 at 12:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Diego R

      @Scott Rosenberg... if you believe the world was created in 6 days and your imaginary friend rested on the 7th is history, then I fear for the future of this country. If it wasnt for athiests (or people who dont follow an archaic religion), the earth would still be the center of the galaxy, and the earth would be flat.

      January 14, 2011 at 12:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tuck

      Sorry, but the Bible is NOT a myth, at least to believers.

      January 14, 2011 at 1:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • TGolden

      Would you lot please look up the word "Myth?" A Myth is defined as a narrative with supernatural elements or intervention as a vital part of its plot. The Bible is, by definition, a Mythic narrative.

      January 14, 2011 at 1:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • John

      @Diego R Umm Nicolas Copernicus was not an atheist...he was the one who originally came up with the heliocentric universe and he was not atheist. In fact neither was Galileo...

      January 14, 2011 at 1:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • shawn

      Diego R-If you think the world was created by an explosion and not by a Divine power then you probably should worry. And don't give me any of the evaluation rhetoric because if we evolved then why are there still monkeys ?

      January 14, 2011 at 1:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dan

      Look ma, I used the words god and word and him and his without capitalization.

      January 14, 2011 at 1:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • giggles

      A smart friend of mine once said... "When someone walks around claiming they're Jesus we assume they're crazy. So what's so different about the first guy?"

      January 14, 2011 at 1:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ramon

      @shawn, we did not come from monkeys, we came from earlier ape-LIKE beings. The statement, "evolution means that we came from monkeys" is false and a very common misconception. If you are going to try to debate please have your information correct.

      January 14, 2011 at 1:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Aezel

      @ Tuck. Sorry, your belief or non-belief of the Bible has absolutely no effect on whether it is true or not. I can go around believing that the sky is blue because someone put blueberry jelly in it but it has no effect on the reality of the situation.

      Likewise, you and literally billions, or even 100% of the total human population could go around firmly believing there is an invisible man in the sky like the Bible says, but your beliefs have absolutely zero impact on if he is really there or not.

      January 14, 2011 at 1:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Charles

      @ Scott: The bible isn't so much a 'recorded' history as it is a retelling of verbal stories passed down for centuries before they were written.

      @ Bible: You are, by definition, a myth.

      @ Shawn: The reason there are still monkeys is the same reason all the sour cream in the world doesn't go bad when the sour cream in your fridge goes bad.

      January 14, 2011 at 1:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Evolutionist

      @Shawn There are still monkeys because we did not evolve from monkeys! I hate this stupid uninformed argument! We evolved from a species of ape that no longer exists on Earth because over thousands and thousands of generations slight mutations in the genetic code of individual members of the species gave an evolutionary advantage, those genes were then passed on to the next generation and they then had their own mutations and over the course of tens of thousands of years the original species became nearly unrecognizable as same animal. They had developed different traits. They eventually became modern humans. Our species is ever changing even now. People who don't pay attention just don't see it. The average height of humans has increased over the course of just a few centuries. Whether or not you believe evolution is guided by god or not is your choice but to deny evolution entirely is just ignorance.

      January 14, 2011 at 1:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Evolution

      @ Evolutionist
      Thank you for being an informed human being that doesn't sling bs all over the place like half the people here.

      January 14, 2011 at 1:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brian

      @Diego: the Earth was never flat. With or without atheists, the Earth would be the same shape it is today. And challenging the word of religion doesnt make one an atheist.
      @Shawn: First, its evoluiton, not evaluation. Second, I assume that you're asking a rhetorical question since you asked folks not to provide (evolution) rhetoric preceeding your question about evolution?
      Question for you though, what do you believe holds you to the Earth; gravity or God's will? Basically, where do you draw the line between faith and science? Why is it easier to believe that we were winked into existence by a surpeme being than it is that everything came together over eons to form what we know of today?
      I know its scary to believe that you may be here by chance and not by purpose, but look on the bright side, if you're here by divine will and have purpose, you don't truly have free will!

      January 14, 2011 at 1:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Evolutionist

      @Brian Most people don't really want free will. They want to be lead around like proverbial sheep by a proverbial shepherd. Ignorance is bliss!

      January 14, 2011 at 2:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Daniel

      Sorry but anyone who STILL believes in a God with a long white beard and white robe behind pearly white gates is so yesterday, so close minded, so ridiculous and so WRONG it makes me laugh in embaressment that there are still so many pinheads in our world. Science is the new Religion in the 21st Century and beyond. The day this planet gets over it's dangerous and deathly obsession with religion the better.

      January 14, 2011 at 4:22 pm | Report abuse |
  6. PirateJohn

    My sign has always been the same: "Road Under Construction"

    January 14, 2011 at 11:09 am | Report abuse |
    • Jams


      My sign will be

      January 14, 2011 at 11:14 am | Report abuse |
    • Dr.Knowe

      Mine reads "Dead End"

      January 14, 2011 at 12:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hell_Bent

      My sign is "No Dumping"

      January 14, 2011 at 12:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hammer Time

      mine reads "SLOW! Deaf Child"

      January 14, 2011 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hi

      My sign "Why did I waste my time reading stupid comments".

      January 14, 2011 at 12:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • S

      How has no one come up with "Dangerous Curves Ahead" yet?

      January 14, 2011 at 12:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rich223

      Mine is "School zone"

      January 14, 2011 at 1:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kelly

      My sign is: "Slow Children."

      January 14, 2011 at 1:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • jerbs

      if you though reading these "stupid comments" were a waste of time, don't you also think replying to them is an even greater waste?

      January 14, 2011 at 1:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • FattyLumpkin

      Mine: "Thickly Settled"

      January 14, 2011 at 2:21 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Scott Cluthe

    "Astrology isn't for millionaires, it's for billionaires" – J Paul Getty
    The displayed ingnorance of people commeting about something they have A) never truly studied B) know nothing about, is pretty typical.
    While it is true that astrology is a "belief" system it is also a very accurate predictor of "tendencies" and "possibilities". As with all things, your personal intention and free will goes a long way is showing if you in fact exploit the possibilities inherent in your "natal" horoscope or don't, like all things in life.

    Using Sun Sign astrology to judge it's reality is like reading the first ingredient on a recipt and deciding you know how to make it.

    No one "needs" astrology, just as you don't need marraige therapy , unless you do! ( and are too ingnorant or afraid of what you might discover about yourself to admit it.)

    So stay in cave and see the shadows and run from them as fast as you can. You just can't get away, eh ?

    January 14, 2011 at 11:09 am | Report abuse |
    • Jim


      January 14, 2011 at 11:17 am | Report abuse |
    • Mitsuo Kenkichi

      Astrology is for people that don't understand confirmation bias.

      Feel free to quote me.

      January 14, 2011 at 11:18 am | Report abuse |
    • krashundburn

      """The displayed ingnorance of people commeting about something they have A) never truly studied B) know nothing about, is pretty typical."""

      Speaking of "ingnorance", astrology is nonsense.

      January 14, 2011 at 11:48 am | Report abuse |
    • itsALLscam

      All nonsense, scam. Make up stuff and someone will believe it. Stars are in the sky and you connect the dots to make any picture you want and then build beliefs on it. Just like numerology. Oh, so and so was born on 11/9/1990. 11+9+1990=2010 and 2+0+1+0=3 AAhhh ; three is the number of blah blah blah. Well, guess what? We made the dates. we made the times and the count. How about if we were using another numbering system: hexadecimal, for instance?
      Ohhhh BS!!!!

      January 14, 2011 at 12:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Judith Johnson

      Thank you Scott!
      I believe in the validity of Astrology for one reason: I have seen it be right so many times that I would be foolish to deny it.

      January 14, 2011 at 12:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dr.Knowe

      Mitsuo! How dare you bring critical thinking & logic into this discussion!!
      (my horoscope said I was going to read one REALLY good post on CNN today)

      January 14, 2011 at 12:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Enlight

      people have such problems dealing in reality and the now! they must hypothesize EVERYTHING. (WHAT IF WHAT IF WHAT IF?! WELL IT DOESN'T MATTER WHAT IF)
      we AREN'T using a different numbering system. 2+0+1+2=5=BALANCE

      thank you scott for helping me in my mostly futile attempt to defend what i know to be true.

      if you were me and you denied what you saw before you regarding astrology, you would be called a skeptic.

      January 14, 2011 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dan

      @Scott Cluthe

      Forgot to take your pills did you?

      January 14, 2011 at 1:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • thelatinist

      I'm 100% with Michio.

      January 14, 2011 at 1:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Aezel

      Oh it is a very accurate predictor huh? Yeah right. Provide proof. Real proof, not just more made-up nonsense. But then again, I'm not targeting you specifically, Christians are just as bat-s**t crazy as people who think astrological events influence their life.

      January 14, 2011 at 1:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hmm....

      No thanks. I'll stick to what really works–fortune cookies.

      January 14, 2011 at 1:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • vonStemwede

      Hey, Scott! You're so right. Why, my horoscope on one Christmas Eve several years ago said, "Family figures prominently tonight." Guess what! It came true!! I did see may family that night....I was blown away...

      January 14, 2011 at 2:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • TokeTheTalk

      your plato allusion doesn't seem to sink in. Margaritas ante porcos.
      don't worry tho – Isaiah 6:10 is at full swing here.
      2 the haters – go consume.

      January 14, 2011 at 5:55 pm | Report abuse |
  8. breazy

    Idgaf I'm libra still lol

    January 14, 2011 at 11:10 am | Report abuse |
  9. Grundoon

    My sign is: No Trespassing

    January 14, 2011 at 11:10 am | Report abuse |
    • Buffy

      "Deliveries in Rear"

      January 14, 2011 at 12:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hmm....

      Buffy wins the internets.

      January 14, 2011 at 1:49 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Jim

    I do not understand why so many people buy into this nonsense, and why this has made national news headlines. If are REALLY interested in the stars, shut off your #$@& lights, go outside and look at them. There are plenty of interesting things going on all the time.

    January 14, 2011 at 11:13 am | Report abuse |
    • ezequiel gonzalez


      January 14, 2011 at 11:45 am | Report abuse |
    • MeMeMeMimi

      For the same reason people buy into religion...guidance.

      January 14, 2011 at 12:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rondo

      caps lock = cruise control for cool

      January 14, 2011 at 12:19 pm | Report abuse |
  11. misterking23

    Check this out...article about what's happening to our world...

    January 14, 2011 at 11:14 am | Report abuse |
  12. imba


    January 14, 2011 at 11:14 am | Report abuse |
  13. imba

    these are all insanity! although we believe in zodiac signs it doesn't mean we must be fooled by it... the most important thing is to believed in God and the acceptance of everything that is happening to our lives...

    January 14, 2011 at 11:16 am | Report abuse |
    • Zak


      January 14, 2011 at 11:36 am | Report abuse |
    • MeMeMeMimi

      The belief in a "god" is insanity as well. It's no more believable than all the b.s. biblical stories.

      January 14, 2011 at 12:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • me

      Well put! People who DON'T believe in God are some of the most closed minded people- those of us who believe in God accept and respect others opinions- we don't say whether or not somebody's opinion on God is wrong- I have found people with no befief in "God" tend to have insane lives and they want to justify their insanity by making outrageous claims that "God" does not exist- I'm a Cancer btw and I plan on staying one- 🙂

      January 14, 2011 at 12:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Observer


      Actually a recent poll/test shows that the average atheist and agnostic knows more about the Bible than the average Christian and have a higher education.

      January 14, 2011 at 12:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Self-Believer

      People who follow religion seem to be the most judgmental people.
      Believe in yourself and all you are and you won't be weak-minded to feel as though you have to follow anything. Religion/Astrology/Addictions are all something to rely when you don't fully know or believe in yourself. To each their own....

      January 14, 2011 at 1:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • DaveyBoy

      "...those of us who believe in God accept and respect others opinions..."

      HAHAHAHA! I'll remember that next time some religious zealot shouts something at me for being gay.

      January 14, 2011 at 1:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • @me

      you do realize that ascribing to any zodiac in any capacity is against your religion? maybe before calling people like me close minded you open your mind to your ridiculous beliefs

      January 14, 2011 at 1:27 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Dennis Johnson

    My sign is feces – will that change? You zodiac fools are in serious denial....where the stars are now...or where they were on the date of your birth is irrelevant. You are who you make yourself. If you were on any other planet, these great designs in the sky in which you place your faith would not even be there. Get a clue you silly people.

    January 14, 2011 at 11:16 am | Report abuse |
    • lol

      Thanks for the advice, inbred.

      January 14, 2011 at 11:35 am | Report abuse |
    • Shanon

      Not everyone believes in the same things. Just because you don't believe in the zodiac, doesn't mean that everyone shouldn't. I think it's interesting and makes a lot of sense.

      January 14, 2011 at 11:51 am | Report abuse |
    • virgo

      You are so correct...thank you Dennis...

      January 14, 2011 at 12:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Really?

      You make a good point. Especially considering that the light from those stars has taken millions and billions of years to get here and most of those stars are gone. However, I have found that people born at certain times through the year carry very similar personality traits. I'm not saying that you can predict the future based on that, but there is still something to it. The stars are just a way to chart your position in relation to the planet. I really don't think the stars themselves influence who we are.

      January 14, 2011 at 12:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ryan

      From what I've seen, it's usually inbreds who follow this BS.

      January 14, 2011 at 12:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joe

      Dennis, I'm a skeptic, and I don't believe in astrology at all. I do believe that insulting people who do is a foolish way to try and bring them around to your way of thinking.

      January 14, 2011 at 1:49 pm | Report abuse |
  15. FormerNavalPerson

    Don't blame Ptolemy. The preface to his astrology text, Tetrabiblos, makes it clear that astrology is impossible. The important instant to the calculation is the moment of conception when the celestial influences work their magic. BUT it is impossible to know that instant. The time of birth is useless for computation.

    January 14, 2011 at 11:18 am | Report abuse |
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