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Vinod V K
Vinod V K


Here's how Ophiuchus might mess with your zodiac


Are you one of those who take star signs and horoscopes to heart? Then you have a reason to worry. 

In what could upset the very concept of astrology, a new zodiac sign has been recognised for the first time in 2,000 years. The new constellation, known as Ophiuchus (the serpent holder), is located between Aquila, Serpens and Hercules, northwest of the centre of the Milky Way, and will take the number of zodiac signs from 12 to 13. 

American space agency Nasa says that the Babylonians, who used a 12-month lunar calendar around 3,000 years ago, were aware of this 13th constellation. But they conveniently left the Ophiuchus out as they could not accommodate it in their calendar. 

"They [the Babylonians] 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'. 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," NASA noted in a blog earlier this year. 

It further said that the direction of earth's axis has changed over the past three millennia, which means that those constellations are no longer in the same spots today as they were 3,000 years ago. 

So, if your birthday is anywhere between November 29 and December 17, you will be Ophiuchus, not a Sagittarius. Giving a space to the new member between Scorpio and Sagittarius may unsettle the entire zodiac system.  The internet has been abuzz with speculations about the new star sign, especially after reports surfaced that NASA has already added the 13th constellation to the zodiac. The space agency, however, refuted it saying, “NASA studies astronomy, not astrology." 

“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,” it clarified. 

After the induction of the new member, 86 per cent of people will have a new zodiac sign, says a leading lifestyle website. Now you have a reason why most of the time your astrologer’s predictions go wrong.

Personality traits 

Those born under the Ophiuchus sign will have the best of both worlds. They are supposed to be “honest, intellectual, sexually magnetic, prone to change and jealous”, and will have a flamboyant dressing sense favouring bright colours. Ophiuchus, unlike other signs, does not have an opposite and so there are no polar experiences. 

Ever wondered why a Leo person, who is supposed to be cheerful and humorous, ends up being emotional and persuasive? He may actually be a Cancer-born! And, if your Libra-born partner is not at all romantic (though their ruling plant is Venus), but is always over-critical and harsh, check his or her birthdate. It may be Virgo!

Indian astrologers, however, have taken the new developments with a grain of salt, maintaining that Ophiuchus is not a sign but just a constellation and has nothing to do with the zodiacs.

“Nothing is going to change. There were 12 rasis (star signs) and it will remain so,” said Manoj Trivedi, an astrologer in Rajasthan. Earlier also there were talks about the new constellation, Trivedi said on being asked about the new developments.

However, according to several US websites, this is how the new zodiac looks like after the inclusion of Ophiuchus.

  • Capricorn: January 20 - February 16 
  • Aquarius: February 16 – March 11 
  • Pisces: March 11 – April 18 
  • Aries: April 18 – May 13 
  • Taurus: May 13 – June 21 
  • Gemini: June 21 – July 20 
  • Cancer: July 20 – August 10 
  • 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 
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