The story of NASA issuing a new zodiac chart that added a 13th sign and shifted around dates for the other twelve signs have become viral like a forest fire.
To anyone paying attention, though, the weirdest part of the story isn’t the moving zodiac, it’s that NASA is suddenly writing horoscopes. “NASA studies astronomy not astrology,” NASA spokesperson Dwayne Brown assured Gizmodo. So why are astrologers convinced that NASA is suddenly helping them re-calibrate horoscopes? Strangely, the source of the rumor appears to stem from a bizarre misinterpretation of an educational page the agency put out for kids.
NASA offers an explanation to curious kids that the zodiac signs were made up 3,000 years ago by the Babylonians, who linked them to the constellations they saw above. In the thousands of years since then, though, the agency notes that the position of those constellations has shifted, due to a tiny wobble in the Earth’s axis. This means that those constellations are no longer in the same spots today as they were when the ancient Babylonians were looking up.
“We didn’t change any Zodiac signs, we just did the math,” Brown told Gizmodo in an email. “The Space Place article was about how astrology is not astronomy, how it was a relic of ancient history, and pointed out the science and math that did come from observations of the night sky.”