Sextans…the 14th sign? (Created by the Author in Starry night).
OK. By now, you know that your astrological sign isn’t what you were always told it was. Last week, (non-) news broke that according to astronomy, not only were the zodiacal signs wrong, but the Sun actually passes through a 13th sign, that of Ophiuchus. The astrology-minded scrambled, desperately trying to conceive not only what a ‘serpent bearer’ should be like, but how to pronounce it. Bloggers also scrambled, eager to get hits (we don’t work for ‘money’) on a topic as highly rated in Search Engine Optimization as astrology. Never mind that we blogged about this years ago. We won’t regal you with our synopsis of astrology, about the precession of the equinoxes and how the sky slowly changes over time. Astrologers have thus evoked the tropical year, saying that their system doesn’t have to have a basis on what is truly happening in the sky… but how is that different than saying that there is no effect at all? Doubtless, the daily horoscope will continue, suitably vague as ever, and a slice of us will say “that’s me; I am unlucky in love and have a vast unrecognized potential!” The planets will also continue to pass through the imaginary borders that we’ve assigned them, largely oblivious to the daily Yahoo front page horoscope or the Google ads touting astrology currently revolving next to this blog.
So, what’s an astronomer to do? Our best advice is to introduce the astrologically curious to the real night sky. Point out their favorite zodiac constellations to them; explain the real motions of the planets and how the sidereal year works. Explain that astronomy sprung from astrology, much like chemistry from alchemy, but also like chemistry, tells us something much more profound about the universe; that celestial bodies do influence us, not by meddling in our mundane affairs or deciding the fate of the Golden Globe Awards, but by making elements, energy, and life possible…tell ‘em Astroguyz sent you!
P.S.: Don’t mention, however, that on January 21st, the Moon enters the constellation Sextans (see above)… we’ve already be accused of inventing one new weird constellation!