No, your star sign hasn’t changed – here’s why

Happy in the knowledge that I’m still a Pisces (Picture: Ella Byworth for

You’ve probably read the news this week that there’s a ‘new’ star sign, changing the dates and potentially rendering the ‘old’ zodiac moot.

Everyone from Denise Welch to Lorraine Kelly expressed annoyance at the revelation, worrying that the advent of Ophiuchus would screw up the way they saw themselves in relation to the stars.

I’m here to tell you, though, you don’t need to acknowledge Ophiuchus – and it’s certainly not anything new.

Ophiuchus – which is supposed to apply to those born between 29 November and 18 December – is a constellation that resembles a serpent. It’s been common knowledge since the times of Ancient Greece.

NASA don’t appear to have announced anything new in relation to the constellation, so it’s unclear where these announcements stemmed from specifically, but it appears to be an issue that crops up every few years or so.

It’s important to know that – while many people believe in horoscopes and they’re based in astronomical principles – astrology is considered a pseudoscience.

NASA has a website for children called Space Place that does mention astrology, but otherwise have no stake in astrological practices beyond discovering new stars and planets if they have not yet been discovered.

Questioning your belief systems? Don’t (Picture: Ella Byworth for

And, to reiterate, the constellation Ophiuchus was discovered thousands of years ago.

Then we need to look at how we got the zodiac (set of 12 star signs) used today.

The zodiac that we most commonly associate with horoscopes here in the western world is the tropical zodiac, which is fixed around the seasons.

There are 88 constellations recognised by the International Astronomy Union. The signs of the tropical zodiac are named after twelve of these, based on the constellations that go through a path called the ecliptic.

If you imagine a hypothetical ‘line’ that starts at the earth, points to the sun, then extends out into space, this gives a basic idea of the ecliptic. As the earth orbits the sun, this line moves through different constellations.

You are not an Ophiuchus – I promise (Picture: Getty)

But not every constellation in this ecliptic is included in the tropical zodiac. The Babylonians initially split the year into 12 based on the twelve phases on the moon, which is where the twelve signs originated around the time of Ptolemy.

There are obvious holes in this 12 sign system. Firstly, Ophiuchus and Cetus are among two other constellations that could be included in the zodiac based on this, as they pass through the ecliptic in the same way Aries or Aquarius do.

Also, the constellations are all different sizes, so the sun would be in different signs for different lengths of time all things considered.

There are types of astrology that recognise this, incorporating up to 27 signs sometimes, and changing up the dates based on how the earth wobbles on its axis as well as other factors.

However, our tropical zodiac stays the same, as it’s not based on this, but was split into 12 in relation to the moon.

So unless you follow a different form of astrology (which you’ll really need to do more research on because it’s even more convoluted and complicated than this), nothing changes for you.

If Mystic Meg hasn’t yet resorted to adding Ophiuchus, you certainly don’t need to either.

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