Every once in a while, a zodiac story does the rounds, suggesting that NASA ‘discovered’ a 13th zodiac sign.
As the new star sign sits between Scorpio and Sagittarius, the ‘discovery’ meant the entire astrology chart would shift to accommodate the new zodiac sign. If this was the case, Scorpio’s reign would last just seven days.
Each time the story re-emerges, Astrology lovers online panic, but NASA has set the record straight.
The information is based on an interpretation of the zodiac by astronomers — not astrologers. So to answer the question ‘is there a new star sign’ — yes, technically, there is.
But have the star signs changed as a result of this finding? No. Don’t panic!
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What is the Star Sign Ophiuchus?
The new star sign is Ophiuchus — the serpent bearer or snake charmer.
Ophiuchus is a constellation located between Scorpio and Sagittarius. And, if this new zodiac sign were added to the astrological western zodiac, it would mean anyone born between 29th November and 17th December would no longer be a Scorpio or a Sagittarius. But an Ophiuchus.
Thankfully NASA squashed the rumours.
Although the constellation Ophiuchus sits on the ecliptic (the apparent path of the Sun over the course of the year) just like the other zodiac constellations, unlike the 12 recognized zodiac signs, Ophiuchus was not included in the traditional zodiac system.
Perhaps this was because astrologers wanted to divide the ecliptic into twelve equal parts. Who knows.
But regardless of the whys or wherefores, Ophiuchus is not traditionally recognised as a Zodiac sign in Western astrology.
The Zodiac (as defined by Western astrology) still consists of 12 signs, each corresponding to a 30-degree arc of the ecliptic. Starting at the vernal equinox.
These signs are Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius, and Pisces.
Is Ophiuchus a Fire Sign?
The fire signs are Aries, Leo, and Sagittarius.
If Ophiuchus were officially recognised as a sign of the zodiac by Western Astrologers, it too would be a fire sign.
Thankfully, whilst Ophiuchus is indeed a constellation in the path of the Sun’s apparent journey across the sky, it’s not traditionally recognised as a zodiac sign in astrology.
The dates would have to change to accommodate it and the new start sign dates would look a little like this.
Dates of the 13 Signs of The Zodiac
- Capricorn: January 20 – February 16
- Aquarius: February 16 – March 11
- Pisces: March 11 – April 18
- Aries: April 18 May 13
- Taurus: May 13 – June 19
- Gemini: June 21 – July 20
- Cancer: July 20 – August 9
- Leo: August 10 – September 16
- Virgo: September 16 – October 30
- Libra: October 30 – November 23
- Scorpio: November 23 – November 29
- Ophiuchus: November 29 – December 17
- Sagittarius: December 17 – January 20
Ophiuchus first came to the public’s attention when NASA published a blog post citing that the Earth’s axis has shifted over thousands of years (a phenomenon called ‘precession’).
This meant the Sun appeared to pass through thirteen — not twelve — constellations on the ecliptic.
This finding sparked a lot of discussions, and some claims about a ’13th star sign’, but the concept is not recognised by most astrologers.
NASA was not trying to redefine astrology but rather talking about astronomy.
What’s The Difference Between Astrology and Astronomy?
Both astrology and astronomy have to do with the study of celestial objects, but they are quite distinct — and different — in their focus, methodology, and goals.
Astronomy is a branch of science that studies the universe beyond the Earth’s atmosphere. This encompasses the positions, motions, physical properties, and origins of celestial objects.
This includes the study of stars, moons, planets, comets, galaxies, and phenomena outside the Earth’s atmosphere. Basically, the universe in its entirety.
Astronomy is based on scientific evidence, mathematical analysis, and the application of the laws of physics.
On the other hand, astrology is an ancient but unscientific discipline, that attempts to predict human behaviour and interpret the significance of events based on the positions of celestial bodies.
It suggests a relationship between humans and the cosmos, whereby planetary movements or positions can somehow predict or explain individual personality traits, significant events in a person’s life, or broader societal trends.
Astrology is not scientifically validated, and most mainstream scientists consider it a pseudoscience.
What Are The 12 Zodiacs in Order?
The year is a wheel of seasons, where spring represents the first season.
The 12 zodiac signs, according to astrology, are determined by the sun’s position at the time of a person’s birth.
As a result, the first sun sign is Aries, which symbolises the start of the spring season.
Here they are, listed in order, along with their corresponding dates:
- Aries: March 21 – April 19
- Taurus: April 20 – May 20
- Gemini: May 21 – June 20
- Cancer: June 21 – July 22
- Leo: July 23 – August 22
- Virgo: August 23 – September 22
- Libra: September 23 – October 22
- Scorpio: October 23 – November 21
- Sagittarius: November 22 – December 21
- Capricorn: December 22 – January 19
- Aquarius: January 20 – February 18
- Pisces: February 19 – March 20
Caro Davies is a former art-director turned writer and content-creator, and editor behind UK lifestyle blog The Listed Home. She writes about home-related topics, from interiors and DIY to food and craft. The Listed Home has been featured in various publications, including Ideal Home, Grazia, and Homes & Antiques magazines.