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NASA Says There Could Have Been A 13th Star Sign

NASA Says There Could Have Been A 13th Star Sign

NASA says there could have been a 13th star sign.

An old blog post by the space agency has been doing the rounds again online, with scientists claiming the constellation of Ophiuchus, which falls between 29 November and 17 December, was cut out of the original line-up.

It states that the Babylonians knew about it when they invented the zodiac 2,500 years ago, but as it didn't fit into their slices of 12, it wasn't included in the official list.

The post reads: "They divided the zodiac into 12 equal parts - like cutting a pizza into 12 equal slices. They picked 12 constellations in the zodiac, one for each of the 12 'slices'.

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"So, as Earth orbits the Sun, the Sun would appear to pass through each of the 12 parts of the zodiac. Since the Babylonians already had a 12-month calendar (based on the phases of the Moon), each month got a slice of the zodiac all to itself.

Credit: PA
Credit: PA

"But even according to the Babylonians' own ancient stories, there were 13 constellations in the zodiac. (Other cultures and traditions have recognized as many as 24 constellations in the zodiac.)

"So the Babylonians picked one, Ophiuchus, to leave out. Even then, some of the chosen 12 didn't fit neatly into their assigned slice of the pie and slopped over into the next one."

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But with thousands of years having passed since the original 12 were drawn up, and the fact that the Earth's axis has moved since then, none of the star signs match up with the correct dates anymore.

And as mentioned in the post, there are potentially dozens of constellations known to man - 88 according to NASA itself - and the Babylonians' zodiac was never going to be perfect.

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The constellation of Ophiuchus. Credit: Pixabay/DarkWorkX
The constellation of Ophiuchus. Credit: Pixabay/DarkWorkX

The important thing was that they had to fit into a body of 12, which meant not every one could be included.

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And while every now and again the debate over whether or not there are actually 13 zodiacs bubbles up, it has not been accepted widely by astrologers.

Speaking about the contentious issue, astrologer Jaime Wright said: "You don't need to read a different horoscope. There's no such thing as the 13th sign.

"Ophiuchus is located directly opposite the extremely prominent constellation Orion, and because of its location, it is actually usually obscured from view at most times in most parts of the world.

Astrologers don't agree that there should be a 13th zodiac sign. Credit: PA
Astrologers don't agree that there should be a 13th zodiac sign. Credit: PA
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"This is potentially part of the reason ancient astrologers chose to leave it out of interpretations. Before we could calculate charts with computers or even by hand, astrology was based on what was observable in the night sky."

But if they don't really align anymore, why can't Ophiuchus be an official zodiac sign?

Jaime added: "Well, it all comes back to the number 12. Remember how the number 12 was chosen to fit the movement of the sun neatly within the lunar calendar? The number 12 has long carried spiritual, mythological and magical symbolism.

"There are 12 seminotes in an octave and 12 days of Christmas and 12 full moons in a year. The basic units of time (60 seconds, 60 minutes, 24 hours) are all divisible by 12."

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: World News

Dominic Smithers

Dominic graduated from the University of Leeds with a degree in French and History. Like you, Dom has often questioned how much use a second language has been. Well, after stints working at the Manchester Evening News, the Accrington Observer and the Macclesfield Express, along with never setting foot in France, he realised the answer is surprisingly little. But I guess, c'est la vie. Contact us at [email protected]