In episode 88 of the podcast, Austin Coppock and Kelly Surtees join the show to discuss and dispel recent rumors that NASA has changed the signs of the zodiac and to clarify the relationship between the signs of the zodiac and constellations.
Below are the show notes, followed by links to download or stream the recording of our discussion.
An overview of some of the topics we talked about and points made during the episode:
September NASA rumor timeline
This is a brief timeline that I tried to put together to explain the sequence in which the September 2016 NASA rumor came out:
- The last major zodiac controversy takes place in January 2011.
- January 13, 2016 – Updated short astrology page on NASA education blog
- The original article was shorter and was written a few years earlier.
- The article says nothing about NASA changing the signs.
- 20th January 2016 – The high school newspaper blog posts articles but is not gaining traction
- 2nd September 2016 – Spirit Science Blog publishes original sponsored clickbait post.
- 3-4 September 2016 – Spirit Science post is widely distributed on Facebook
- 12-17 September – History picked up, especially from women’s magazine pages in the second week.
- 20./21. September – NASA posts updated article / statement on Tumblr blog
- 22.-26. September – Coverage from local news networks + many other websites.
- The three “zodiac”: constellation, zodiac sign, tropics.
- In practice, typically only the tropical and sidereal zodiac circles are used as reference systems.
- Tropical zodiac aligned with equinoxes and solstices, sidereal with constellations.
- Zodiac standardized to 12 signs of 30 degrees each around the 5th century BC.
- At around the same time, natal astrology was developed.
- Most of the properties associated with the signs did not come about until the 1st century BC. BC.
- Tropical and sidereal zodiac are then roughly aligned.
- Some properties come from the tropical zodiac, others from the sidereal.
- Part of the misunderstanding is the assumption that all the traits astrologers associate with the signs are derived from the constellations, which is not true.
- Precession – slowly drifting apart – 1 degree every 72 years.
- Tropical zodiac that dates back to the 2nd century BC. Was used by Hipparchus.
- Ptolemy firmly established the tropical zodiac for Western astrologers in the 2nd century AD.
- Western astrologers have mainly used tropical zodiac signs since the 2nd century.
- Sun sign pillars developed in the 1930s and based on the tropical zodiac.
- To the extent that Western astrology has been based on the tropical zodiac for 1800 years, nothing has changed.
Articles each of us wrote in response to the original 2011 zodiac controversy that are still relevant today:
A full transcript of this episode is available: Transcript of Episode 88
Check out the video version
Update 07/17/2020: This episode was recorded before I started making video versions of each episode on a regular basis, although I re-released an audio version on YouTube on July 17, 2020 for those who would rather subscribe or listen to the podcast on YouTube:
Listen to this episode
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