The change was suggested by Professor Parke Kunkle, who teaches astronomy at Minneapolis Community and Technical College. Astronomers study space and the stars from a scientific viewpoint whilst astrologers write horoscopes and claim that celestial bodies can give clues to personality traits. Professor Kunkle said that those who read their star signs could have been reading the wrong one their whole lives and should readjust accordingly. ‘When astrologers say that the sun is in Pisces, it’s really not in Pisces,’ he said. ‘Historically, people looked at the sky to understand the world around us. But today I don’t think people who are into astrology look at the sky very much.’ The signs of the zodiac have roots in mythology and relate to the legend of how the 12 Olympian gods took animal shapes to flee the monster Typhon who was causing havoc on Earth. They date back to Roman and Babylonian times and are based on the ecliptic, which is the path of the sun over the celestial sphere, or imaginary path around the Earth for a year. In the beginning your star sign was indeed determined by the constellation in the sky that the sun lined up with at the time of your birth. Since then, however, astrologers have adopted a mathematically equal division of the sky, so the position of the constellations is no longer relevant. The proposed 13th star sign, Ophiuchus, is a constellation in space and existing prints of its symbol indicate it is a heavily muscled individual holding a snake to the sky. Those born under Ophiuchus are said to have lofty ideals, enjoy longevity and are inventive. Those who are currently Scorpio or Saggitarius could make the switch. The story has sparked controversy and debate around the world and instantly became the most popular topic of conversation on microblogging site Twitter, where some users were aghast at the change in their fortunes. One woman summed up the feeling of many when she wrote: ‘I am now a Cancer. I went from being the top of the zodiac..Leo the courageous lion – to a crab!’ Daily Mail astrologer Jonathan Cainer vehemently denied Professor Kunkle’s claim and said that it was the work of a ‘jealous astronomer’. ‘He is right that the Earth has moved but astrologers have not for years based their predictions on the constellations,’ he said. ‘The star signs are named after the constellations of stars but they are not based on them or their positions in the sky. ‘For thousands of years we have used mathematically equal divisions of the ecliptic. ‘This is either willfully ignorant or mischievous and malevolent and shows that the scientific community reacts in a bigoted way when faced with mysticism. ‘There is no need for people to adjust their star signs or for a 13th star sign to be introduced. This is just a load of nonsense’.
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