"Don't freak out, but your star sign may have changed."
A headline like that is bound to grab attention -- and it did.
After NASA published an "updated" set of Zodiac dates, Cosmo UK took things to the next level by alerting folks to the fact that "86% of people's star signs had changed."
The outlet published this new set of astrological dates -- and even a 13th sign! -- attributing them to NASA:
Capricorn: Jan 20 - Feb 16
Aquarius: Feb 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 – Aug 10
Leo: Aug 10 – Sept 16
Virgo: Sept 16 – Oct 30
Libra: Oct 30 – Nov 23
Scorpio: Nov 23 – Nov 29
Ophiuchus: Nov 29 – Dec 17
Sagittarius: Dec 17 – Jan 20
But NASA debunked the report, stressing that "astrology is not astronomy". According to Gizmodo.com, it all started with "a bizarre misinterpretation of an educational page the agency put out for kids."
In the kiddie page, the agency explains that the zodiac signs were made up 3 000 years ago by the Babylonians, who linked them to the constellations they saw above.
But in the centuries since then, the position of those constellations has actually shifted, due to a tiny wobble in the Earth’s axis.
And so: "When the Babylonians first invented the 12 signs of zodiac, a birthday between about July 23 and August 22 meant being born under the constellation Leo. Now, 3000 years later, the sky has shifted because Earth's axis (North Pole) doesn't point in quite the same direction."
Meaning: "Now Mimi's August 4 birthday would mean she was born "under the sign" of Cancer (one constellation "earlier"), not Leo."
Cue international astrology meltdown.
But as NASA spokesperson Dwayne Brown says: “We didn’t change any Zodiac signs, we just did the math,”
“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.”
Sources: Cosmo.co.uk, Gizmodo, LiveScience