This website is no longer actively maintained
Some material and features may be unavailable

The Daily Need

A zodiac shift agitates some, leaves the rest of us unfazed

When I walked into my apartment last night after work, my roommate was glued to her computer screen, clicking through various web 2.0-style astrology websites. “They changed the zodiac signs!” she shrieked. “I’m a Sagittarius now! I have to find out what that means.”

The startling news here is not that my roommate, once a responsible though unimaginative Capricorn, is now an erudite yet occasionally flaky Sagittarius. The startling news is that “they” up and changed a system that had been revered by the gullible for thousands of years. Who do “they” think they are?

“They” — in this case — are the Minnesota Planetarium Society, a group of “executives, astronomers, educators and everyday citizens.” Their primary shared goal is to erect a new planetarium to replace the Minneapolis Planetarium, which was closed and torn down in 2002. A noble purpose indeed.

And they also decided to change the zodiac. Here’s why:

The ancient Babylonians conceived of the zodiac as a way of forecasting a child’s future based on the position the sun was in when that child was born. Since then, the Earth has shifted a bit on its axis, changing the sun’s position relative to our planet. The stars are now about a month off where they were in ancient times. So astrology and astronomy were not matching up.

“When [astrologers] say that the sun is in Pisces, it’s really not in Pisces,” Parke Kunkle, a board member of the Minnesota Planetarium Society, told the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

Thus, Kunkle and co. decided to rejigger things a bit for the 31 percent of Americans who put some stock in zodiac signs.

That meant shifting the 12 signs by about a month and reinstituting Ophiuchus, a 13th sign that the Babylonians had thrown out some 3,000 years ago to finesse the zodiac into working more smoothly.

So, according to the Minnesota Planetarium Society, here’s how it works now:

Sagittarius: Dec. 17-Jan. 20
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. 23-29
Ophiuchus: Nov. 29-Dec. 17

Can the Minnesota Planetarium Society just go ahead and make such decisions, altering ancient systems? No one seems to know. One thing is clear: The problem of whether the new zodiac is a load of hooey is certainly complicated by the associated problem of whether the old zodiac was a load of hooey.

I was a Cancer but now I’m a Gemini, a development I’m not too concerned about. I’ll have to watch my roommate over the next few days and see if this cosmological alteration 20-some years into her life produces a change. If it does, I may reevaluate my attitude.

  • thumb
    The admission arms race
    From ProPublica, an in-depth look at the ways in which colleges can pump up their stats.
  • thumb
    Home-grown terrorism
    The story of the Boston bombers is still unfolding at high speed, but counterterror officials believe the brothers were Islamic extremists.
  • thumb
    Boston reading guide
    Need to play catch up? Here's a full list of resources for more on what's going on in Boston.


  • Yoyogrrrl

    Apparently, the TROPICAL zodiac, which is based on the seasons and is used by most Westerners, has not changed.

  • Muslim

    What is the proof for the claims made by Astrologers? The planets and orientation of the stars effect humans? Gravitationally the pull exerted from the stars is canceled out by nearby objects like tables and chairs and cars. Magnetically? The Earth has a magnetic shield through which we are protected from the violent effects of solar storms.

  • Mariah Waite

    0nce a Capricorn, always a Capricorn, dammit.

  • Lfrech4

    Absolutely ludicrous. I’m a scorpio through and through; Oct 29th. Must have been Aries or another zodiaclical disconnected/disbelieving sign who thought of doing this! I’m thinking most who “get” astrology and those with whom they have related to and understood via this venue would consider this a fairly ridiculous and drastic change. Phooeeey!

  • Missy

    I will always be a Scorpion!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Lfrech4

    For crying out loud…THIS IS A BOGUS POST/.SCAM.
    why do idiots feel the need to do these things. duh to me for even posting on it.

  • Maarten Martinus

    the magnetic shield is weakening due to the magnetic poles shift. Must be Ophiuchus’ fault! ;)

  • Michelle Hass

    Another was-Scorp who’s a bit distressed she’s a Libra now. Or something. This is all quote silly, actually.

  • Dachshund4

    Very, very interesting. What a great experiment. Like giving a person fake medicine and telling them it’s real. They feel better. All my life I have been a Leo and have risen to the occasion. Now it’s different. Will I rise to that occasion, too? Very interesting. I would love to know if this is real or just some department doing an experiment.

  • Jordan

    The closest I come to putting any stock into astrology stems from the seasons. If we assume that our moods, attitudes and behaviors shift through out the seasons, and a majority of people share similar shifts, then a child born within a specific time frame will be exposed to a specific set of social behaviors at set points in their development, thus shaping who they are. Theoretically, each month would have their own set of behaviors and shaping influences on the child, thus facilitating an “astrological sign.” under such a model, the heavens play no real part, and it is just coincidence that those stars were at a specific point at that time. Thus, even though our axis has shifted, our season’s haven’t much, therefore, the old model would be the correct model, if the aforementioned hypothesis is correct.

  • Vplummer32

    Me too! Seriously.

  • Ancienthistorykem

    born a Sagittarius will forever be a Sagittarius-don’t really care what astrologers have to say about it…

  • lkregula

    There’s so many things wrong with this piece it’s not even funny. 1) Modern astrology is based on the tropical zodiac, which hasn’t changed. 2) Astrology is bunk to begin with. 3) Even if it weren’t bunk, astronomy and astrology are different “disciplines”; this is like ecologists trying to change chemistry. 4) If you *do* put stock in astrology, your sign is based on your birth, not the current positions. 5) And I repeat- astrology is bunk anyway.

  • SGilson

    Whoa! I’m a Scorpio, born a Scorpio and lived almost 70 years as a Scorpio. There’s no doubting that I’m a Scorpio! Just ask my husband and kids ;-)

  • Jahbird

    total BS

  • Astropeep

    gullible……..Jack, your closed mind is not worth my time

  • Sm00ve1

    I was born me and will always be me

  • KarmicLife

    So is anyone going to step up and describe the qualities of Ophiuchus? I went from a Sag to that and would love to know how I’m supposed to act now. Talk about only giving half of the necessary information.

    ps. This “idea” the Minnesota Planatrium Society developed is garbage! Has anyone seen how poorly the days break down? Only 7 days for Scorpio but a hefty 45 days for Virgo, only 22 days for Cancer but 40 days for Taurus. Also, the last day of one sign is also the first day of the next. How in the world does that work? Rant over

  • Jennkrause69

    Hey – don’t blame Aries – I have no intent to change from ram to fish.

  • Suzyq

    Just stupid. Do they really think after all these years they can change this that easily? Not.

  • Sunny

    I was born Sagittarius, December 3rd…. I have always been a Sagittarius. Me, be an Ophiuchus? Umm, what!?!?!?

  • Julia Lansberry

    Astrology was effectively invented in Mesopotamia, with the earliest horoscope dating to about 410 BC. The history is quite fascinating and it’s worth considering that early fascination with the night sky is an important precursor of mathematics and science. Kudos to MN Planetarium Society for raising consciousness… they only provided dates of solar positions in the mapping of constellations based on coordinates of 1875, as currently defined. These were carefully established on the ancient mapping by Hipparchus and Ptolemy in the Hellenistic period.

  • Brooke Watson

    I am NOWHERE NEAR A VIRGO!!!!!!!!! LIBRA FOR LIFE! These people are DUMB ASSES! Just like my husband is NOT a Gemini….he’s a Cancer and my son is NOT an Aries, he’s a Taurus! I follow the zodiac religiously and this is all bullcrap to me!!!!!!!! SO LAME!!!!!!!!!!! Screw you guys for trying to change everything!

  • Astrogrl

    That would be Taurus crap, wouldn’t it?

  • Astrogrl

    Sorry to have to say this, but the people in Minnesota are right. Check it out for yourself. Go to enter the date of your birthday, and use a time of noon (needs to be when the sun is out. The chart will show you the constellation where the sun was when you were born. If your want the scientific background for why the 3000 year old babylonian sun signs no longer match where the sun is actually located in the sky, google “precession of the equinoxes”.

  • Jus Buck

    First off, from what I remember, Ophiuchus is supposed to be a healer. He’s the snake-wrangler—snake represents transformation (shedding skins) and is the original animal sign for Scorpio (meaning Scorpios were not represented by the scorpion originally, but by the serpent—they probably had a different name, too). I find that interesting. In the not-so-distant-future, Scorpio, or the serpent sign will not be in the path of the sun because the snake-wrangler will have banished it. That is, if you wanted to make a myth out of the stars. Also, if you think about it, the symbol for many hospitals is a staff with one or two snakes coiled up it. That comes from Ophiucus.

    And by the way, all of you who are such avid Astrology fans should keep in mind that Astrology is based on where the stars and planets were at the time of your birth. Our Sun is a star, and according to the constellation it passed through at the time of your birth, you may very well be a “Libra” instead of a “Scorpio” as far as the science of Astrology is concerned. Now, Astrologists are probably pretty pissed about this, and don’t want to lose their flow of cash from people who want their fortunes told, so they’ll probably tell you that the constellations “Astrology” is based on haven’t changed so that they don’t estrange their customers. But if the whole thing is based on ANY science whatsoever (which Astrologers will claim it is), then yeah, there are 13 signs, and you’re a fish now instead of a goat.

  • Kukla

    me too ! Libra or at least Libra/Scorpio cusp !! I AM NOT A VIRGO !!

  • Curiousgoods13

    Why do you all need someone to tell you how to act ??? There are Many disciplines out there, and many thoughts on spirituality as well as science…be the best that YOU know how to be !!! ;^)

  • Trae_c

    The key here is when you were born. When I was born the sun was in Cancer, therefore I am a cancer. Babies born on my Birthday this year will be a Gemini. This is my understanding of it. Your personal Sun sign does not change, but it will be different for the babies born this year or when the change took place.

  • Raja Pathania has some problem ND REAL ONE.

    moon completes rotation of earth in 24 hours, simply means moon remain in one zodiac sign for 2 hours. here in site it moves constellation also in same speed itis moving moon. not possible at all. i shows moon in same constellation for one month

  • Rajan Pathania

    Indian alstrology is moon based and constellation based. One thing is confusing that stars which are 100 lights year ar can move in same speed as moon is moving?

  • Leana M.

    I agree with Curiousgoods13. I think we can all be the person we want to be and no sign will ever compensate the way we act personally. As I read the personality of each signs, they all say the same thing but worded differently. They even picked up on personality traits that each person have in some level, and either we act on it or we don’t, if we accept it or we don’t, or we are aware of it or not aware of it. This is just another a way for a belief to tell how we should act based on a written word. Weather we accept it or not, it is up to each individual to act on it. All an all, there is still free-will and self conscience that takes over. – Leana M.

  • Jerry

    Astrology is considered the Primal Science. Early Man looked out from his cave and saw that the Sun’s position at sunrise changed with the Seasons. He saw that the Moon’s shape appeared to change in order within the Seasons. He saw that Man’s activity changed with Seasons,and within the Seasons. In a very real sense the position of the Sun and Moon conditioned Man’s activities to a certain time that would best assure his survival. Over time Man’s awareness of his relationship to the planets and stars has increased. The patterns of movement and positions of them have, through observation and intellect, been attributed character of personality, temperament, and more, were not simply passed down in whole,complete from Ptolemy,or the Greeks,rather they were rediscovered by contemporary observers and thinkers. This fact strongly suggest that the Zodiac is not wholly defined or limited by the changes in the apparent position of the Constellations. Change comes quickly. Wisdom takes time.

  • I G

    I would waste time with bunch of BS !!!!! There are some many problems that need our ”HIGHEST” attention and all this
    talking and/or commenting about Zodiac signs makes me just

  • guest

    incorrect. the moon is not in each zodiac sign for 2 hours. it is in the same zodiac sign for a month because as the earth orbits the sun, each sign’s position in the night sky changes relative to where the earth is in orbit around the sun. so, although the moon does orbit the earth in a 24 hour cycle, the moon’s position in each zodiac sign is relative to where the earth is in orbit around the sun at that point in time.

  • Liz

    I enjoy being a Libra. It is the only Zodiac sign not represented by a living (mythical or otherwise) being. I don’t live and breathe by the position of stars or planets. I prefer their Maker. Nonetheless, I have no intention of changing my lifelong designation as Libra.

  • FormerAquarian

    What about all those people who’ve had TATOOS made of their astrological sign, and now their sign has changed?!!

  • Lakahen_cimi

    I worked out my own system in 2004. Once you learn the math only the symbols remain. Try to sense time sidereal instead of linear.

  • Jay

    Sagittarius is the site i get a lot of my good sagittarius horoscope information although they havent added the Ophiuchus sign yet :(