Astrology lovers were in for a shock this weekend when news outlets widely began reporting that our zodiac signs as we knew them would be changing forever, and that we all had NASA to thank. Citing the official administration as their source, the reports had a 13th sign being introduced, Ophiucus, the presence of which would throw all the other planetary signs out of whack and put us at odds with our horoscopes forever.
But not to worry: NASA spokesman Dwayne Brown says it simply isn’t so.
Oddly enough, this isn’t the first time the rumor has surfaced: Myth debunking site Snopes says it has been receiving inquiries regarding this very topic from as far back as 2002!
So what gives?
Gizmodo ferreted out that the root of this latest evolution of the story seems to be stemming from the administrations’s Space Place page, which attempts to explain the differences between astrology and astronomy to young readers.
Ironically, this page states that even 3,000 years ago, when the Babylonians created the zodiac signs as we know them, they were fully aware that they were leaving Ophiucus out — they simply chose 12 of the 13 constellations that they observed the sun passing through to match up with the 12 months of the calendar they had already created. Consequently, there were 12 signs for humans to be “born under.”
The confusion comes in when the NASA page points out that the axis of the Earth has since shifted, meaning the current zodiac signs/constellations as we know them no longer match up with the months they were intended to correspond to — but then again, they never fully did. The existence of Ophiucus (which the Babylonians had always known and consciously ignored) meant that for roughly 18 days of the year, the designated sun signs were at odds with the constellations they claimed to be matching up to — a fact that was purposely overlooked (read: Nothing has changed).
“We didn’t change any Zodiac signs, we simply did the math,” Brown said in an email to Gizmodo. “The Space Place article was about how astrology is not astronomy, how it was a relic of ancient history and pointed out the science that did come from observations of the night sky.”
Futhermore? “We study astronomy, not astrology,” Brown said.
And there you have it folks, straight from the horse’s mouth. All of us lucky Libras? Still Libras (praise hands emoji).
Were you worried you might lose your sign? Tell us over @BritandCo!
(h/t Gizmodo, photos via Getty + NASA)