NASA has confirmed that there has been no change to the existing 12-star signs following social media rumors that another zodiac sign, Ophiuchus, had been added, the Independent reported.
The rumor of a new zodiac sign has resurfaced several times on social media in the past few years. NASA initially acknowledged it in 2016 but reiterated on Twitter that the zodiac signs have not changed.
“We see your comments about a zodiac story that re-emerges every few years. No, we did not change the zodiac,” the agency tweeted.
NASA referred readers to a blog post from 2016. They explained that over 3,000 years ago when the Babylonians created the 12-star signs, they chose to leave a constellation out, which was Ophiuchus.
The Babylonians divided the zodiac into 12 parts, giving each its own constellation, which meant the sun would pass through each part. As they already had a 12-month calendar, each month had a “slice” of the zodiac for itself. However, the zodiac signs do not fit evenly into each month. For example, Cancer starts on June 21 and ends on July 22, whereas Leo runs July 23 until August 22.
The new zodiac had been placed between November 29 and December 17, according to The Sun. Had Ophiuchus officially become a new zodiac sign, the other 12 star signs would have shifted. For example, this would have meant that Cancer would move almost a whole month, from July 20 until August 10.
“The constellations are different sizes and shapes, so the sun spends different lengths of time lined up with each one. The line from Earth through the sun points to Virgo for 45 days, but it points to Scorpius for only 7 days. To make a tidy match with their 12-month calendar, the Babylonians ignored the fact that the sun moves through 13 constellations, not 12. Then they assigned each of those 12 constellations equal amounts of time,” the blog post read.
Much of the confusion stems from NASA saying that the sky has changed since the Babylonians’ time 3,000 years ago. They explained that due to how far away the stars are, the shapes and positions of the constellations change very slowly.
The Independent corrected claims that NASA “created” Ophiuchus, as the constellation already existed. The agency simply brought attention to the existing constellation.