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What’s your sign?

Brace yourself for something potentially shocking.
    

You are probably not the Zodiac sign you think you are.
    

Let that sink in for a minute. I know you are probably rethinking how you view the world right now. All the Zodiac signs are off by about one month. And they are shorter than they used to be, thanks to the addition of a thirteenth sign, the unpronounceable Ophiuchus. 
    

I know all you Leos out there – shout out – are stubbornly saying, “No way am I a Cancer.” Thoughtful Aquarius is considering carefully what this new Zodiac means. Brash Scorpio is preparing to burn down observatories. And who knows what the heck Ophiuchus is doing or thinking.

Of course, if you are for some reason furious about the new system, rest assured. Astrologers have declared that the change-over to the new zodiac only occurred in 2009, so anyone born before 2009 can remain whichever zodiac they thought they were. I know that as one of the last Leos born in July, I’ll always remember that fateful day when astrologers readjusted the zodiac calendar, just like I remember the fateful day scientists added a second to the atomic clock.
    

But really, why are we talking about astrology? Astrology in some form or another has been around for thousands of years, dating as far back as 1000 BC. Over the course of centuries, belief and interest in astrology has waxed and waned, but never quite disappeared. In fact, according to some polls, as much as 37 per cent of Americans today believe the stars have some profound effect on their life, despite the fact that science has conclusively proven the position of the Sun in relation to constellations means nothing.
    

So it’s funny that the current interest in the Zodiac rearrangement took place recently thanks to Parke Kunkle, an astronomer on the board of directors at the Minnesota Planetarium Society. Using the scientific method and an actual telescope, Kunkle observed the position of the Sun and which constellation it was in. What he found was that the current Zodiac system’s dates were off by about a month.
    

What caused this strange change in the stars? Is it some sort of cosmic re-alignment? Could it be a government conspiracy? Are the Mayans to blame?
    

The answer is a lot more mundane than that. What has occurred since the ancient Babylonians invented the Zodiac in the first millennium BC is that the gravitational pull of the moon has slowed the Earth’s orbit. That means where we observe the Sun in relation to the main constellations of the Zodiac is not the same as what would’ve been observed thousands of years ago. So Leos who thought they were stubborn, strong leaders are actually somewhat harsh, indolent, and unhappy Cancers. Active, intelligent, and ambitious Aries are now actually peaceful, sensitive Pisces. 
    

Of course, as soon as I found out that I am in fact, a Cancer, I started to notice that I have all the traits of a Cancer. Before I was sure the Leo traits were mine, but when I really examined my life, I think I was ignoring the indications that I am obviously a Cancer. Some of my friends, however, cursed loudly and became upset when they found out that their Zodiac sign was wrong. Shocking, I know. 
    What I think is most shocking, however, is the fact that an astronomer pointed this out. Not for the fact that an astronomer who would actually look at the stars would be needed to find the correct star positions, but for the fact that an astronomer would even dignify astrology with his attention. 
    

As an astronomer, it is almost certain that at some point in his life Kunkle has been mistaken for an astrologer. Unfortunately, some people don’t know the difference between astrology and astronomy. To be clear, astronomy is a science, and astrology is not. So it is disturbing to see that an astronomer would risk making the distinction between the two fields less clear by dabbling in astrology.
    

So how did the astrology community react to a scientist dabbling in their affairs? They seem to have embraced the new system with limited reservations. There seems to be a near-universal acceptance of the new system proposed by Kunkle. What is even more amusing is that Kunkle never meant to create a new system of astrology. He was merely pointing out how ridiculously off the astrology dates were.
    

But astrology wasn’t broken, so why fix it? Astrology should be taken lightly as a point of trivial interest, not relied upon as the foundation of our lives. So does it really matter which constellation the Sun is in? This adjustment isn’t going to make zodiac predictions any more accurate, so why bother changing anything at all?
    

Unless all these years that Astrologers have been predicting our lives, they were using outdated information. That must be why they were inaccurate! Of course, it all makes sense now. With the new system, we’ll see a remarkable increase in prediction accuracy, I’m sure of it.
    

With that in mind, I call on The Carillon to begin running the new horoscopes on a weekly basis. I need to know what days it is fortuitous to go to class, when I should be cautious with my homework, and especially when my love forecast is doing well. Who knows, maybe I’ll have more luck as a Cancer than as a Leo.

Edward Dodd
Contributor

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