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It seems to have started with this article in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune last weekend, in which one astronomer made some statements about the zodiac. Kunkle told the Star-Tribune the Earth's relation to the sun had changed since the Babylonians first created the zodiac.
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We got in touch with Kunkle and asked him what he actually told the Star-Tribune. He said he was asked by the Star-Tribune to give them a few bits of information about astronomy, not realizing the article would become a huge discussion of astrology and the relationship between astronomy and astrology. And the main stuff he talked to the Star-Tribune about has to do with the phenomenon of " precession.
If you take a toy top and spin it, it spins around an axis and that axis tends to point in different directions. It moves around.
That's what we call precession. But in BC, the Earth's axis pointed towards a different star, Thuban. And that majestic motion takes about 26, years. Brezsny said the argument that the zodiac was off kilter was old news but he was shocked how fast the Star Tribune article — inspired by a blog item on the LiveScience Web site — caught fire. View all New York Times newsletters. One step forward and two steps back. Even more shocking for some was the report that the sign system would be adding a new, and ominously a 13th, sign — Ophiuchus, the snake holder — which ancient Babylonians dumped.
Maybe they were superstitious? Its cycle runs from Nov. Some likened it to the news that Pluto — long considered the smallest, cutest planet — was being reclassified as a dwarf planet.
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William Duvendack, a St. Louis astrologer on the board of the Astrological Association of St. Louis , said he had been inundated with questions. Duvendack, fielding questions from shaken clients.
For all that, Mr. Brezsny and others said their craft would survive the confusion — and the skeptics — if only because its adherents are so passionate.
Not everyone was upset with the news of the supposed star shift. And the main stuff he talked to the Star-Tribune about has to do with the phenomenon of " precession. If you take a toy top and spin it, it spins around an axis and that axis tends to point in different directions.
It moves around. That's what we call precession. But in BC, the Earth's axis pointed towards a different star, Thuban. And that majestic motion takes about 26, years. This phenomenon was first noticed around B.
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And as a result, if you actually look at what stars were positioned behind the sun on a particular date, that would have been very different 5, years ago than it would today. And no, Parke Kunkle didn't tell the Star-Tribune that the zodiac ought to include 13 signs instead of 12 — especially since he doesn't believe in astrology at all.
He highly recommends Phil Plait's page about astrology.
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