New Zodiac Signs 2011: Debunking a Zodiac Controversy

Don't worry - the new zodiac dates will not change your sign.

ByABC News
January 15, 2011, 1:04 PM

Jan. 15, 2011 -- Believe it or not, astrologers actually saw this one coming.

An astrological controversy erupted online Thursday after a newspaper article erroneously suggested that the dates that determine the Zodiac signs had shifted by about a month, throwing millions of believers into self-doubt and panic.

Fear not: your sign remains the same.

PHOTOS: New Zodiac Signs?

The tilt of the Earth's axis has gradually shifted since the ancient times when the Babylonians determined the dates of the Zodiac. The calendrical rejiggering also supposedly re-introduced a sign discarded by the Babylonians: Ophiuchus, alternatively called the much-cooler sounding Serpentarius.

Under this calculus your correspondent, an erstwhile Aquarius, is now a Capricorn.

Twitter, predictably, exploded with outrage and irony. One user, @pnuts_mama, tweeted, "it's our identity!! ahh!! existential crisis!! postmodernism defined!!" Time magazine's television critic James Poniewozik joked, "I'm not a Cancer? Suddenly all those bigoted anti-Gemini pamphlets I self-published look embarrassing."

But astrologers and astronomers -- two groups that don't always see eye-to-eye -- agree that this is old news. About 3,000 years old. Western astrologers included the wobble of the Earth's axis in their calculations centuries ago. The Zodiac we are all familiar with is still perfectly valid (as valid, anyway, as the Zodiac ever was).

"Astronomers have known about this since 130 BC. Hipparchus was able to determine that this would happen," says Parke Kunkle, a board member of the Minnesota Planetarium Society. "It astounds me that this has taken off the way it has in the last day or two."

"It's not like it's something new. Anybody 50 years ago or 100 years ago or yesterday for that matter could have and would have known that the stars and the signs don't match up," said Dr. Ed Krupp, an astronomer at the Griffith Observatory, according to ABC7.

The popular astrologer Susan Miller called the news "ridiculous." In an interview with ABC News, she said, "We've known about this for ages. The constellations don't suggest what's coming up, it's the planets! The constellations are a measuring device."

"In ancient days there were, like, 50 constellations. Then they finally got together and agreed on 18. Then they narrowed it down," says Miller. "I'm getting so many tweets. Trying to explain something technical in 140 characters is hard!" 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