Posts sharing the claim that NASA changed the zodiac to include a 13th astrological sign are false. NASA addressed the claim on its Twitter page, explaining that it did not change zodiac itself but included a sign that has been left out since Babylonian times.
The text on one post reads: “Apparently NASA did some research and said they have been reading the zodiac signs incorrectly and these are the correct dates anyone heard about this??”
The image in the posts features shifted dates for the existing astrological signs and includes a new one called “Ophiuchus” for the dates of Nov. 29 to Dec. 17.
NASA explained in a tweet posted on July 16, 2020 here , that it did not change the zodiac. The tweet reads: “We see your comments about a zodiac story that re-emerges every few years. No, we did not change the zodiac. When the Babylonians invented the constellations 3,000 years ago, they chose to leave out a 13th sign. So, we did the math.”
The tweet links to a NASA Tumblr page here , where it explains the story in more depth and points out the difference between astronomy, which is “the scientific study of everything in outer space”, and astrology, “the belief that the positions of stars and planets can influence human events.”
The page also explains that the Babylonians, who lived over 3,000 years ago, divided the zodiac into 12 parts and chose a constellations for each one, corresponding with 12 months of the calendar.
“But even according to the Babylonians’ own ancient stories, there were 13 constellations in the zodiac. So they 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 crossed over into the next one.”
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR ASTROLOGY BELIEVERS?
Astrology believers questioning whether their signs have now shifted can rest at ease. Reuters reached out to astrologers to find out if Ophiuchus resulted in people’s star signs shifting, the primary apparent concern among comments on these social media posts.
“As an astrologer, I can assure you that your zodiac sign didn’t change,” assured Nina Kahn, author and astrologer (www.ninakahn.com/about). She told Reuters via email, “Ophiuchus is a real constellation, but it’s not a zodiac sign. As you may know, there are many constellations in the sky, but not all of them are included in the zodiac.”
Rebecca Gordon, professional astrologer (here), reiterated that while Ophiuchus is a constellation, this does not make it a zodiac sign. She told Reuters in a statement that Ophiuchus has nothing to do with the 12 zodiac signs that have been in use “for thousands of years to create an accurate calendar which aligns us with the natural cycles and Sun’s apparent path.”
Echoing NASA’s point, Kahn added, “Astronomy and astrology are two very different things!”
Misleading. NASA did not change the zodiac to shift dates and add another astrological sign.
This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our fact-checking work here .