This question got me thinking of an interview of, or a talk by Neil deGrasse Tyson that I saw somewhere in the YouTube universe, giving a question one might ask to possibly challenge literal interpretation of one's astrological sign. For some reason I can't find it now, but I believe he said that currently the sun does not actually pass through all twelve zodiac constellations any more.

I'm not looking for opinions or any particulars about Astrology, please, just the science! (if there is some) If someone is familiar with the statement, I'd like to hear if I've got it right, and if it's due to proper motion, precession, redrawing/redefinition of constellation boundaries, or something else.

  • $\begingroup$ Your "this question" link doesnt work, it just goes to Neil's Wikipedia page, but I think this might explain what he was talking about bbc.co.uk/guides/zp4fvcw#z9twq6f. $\endgroup$ – Dean May 2 '16 at 12:55
  • $\begingroup$ I'm still confused, I understand and agree with your logic in regard to informing people who he is, but I dont see why you need to include a link to his Wikipedia page twice? $\endgroup$ – Dean May 2 '16 at 13:34
  • $\begingroup$ @Dean the BBC link is very helpful and fun as well - thank you for that! Oh, and I fixed the bad link you mentioned, thank you for that too! $\endgroup$ – uhoh May 2 '16 at 13:37
  • $\begingroup$ Your welcome :) $\endgroup$ – Dean May 2 '16 at 13:38

The ecliptic still passes through the original 12 constellations, although Earth's precession has shifted the Sun's apparent position by roughly one constellation. That is, if your birthday is today, May 2, an astrologer would claim you were Taurus, whereas in reality the Sun is currently positioned in Aries.

Additionally, the ecliptic now passes through the constellation Ophiuchus (The Serpent Bearer). You can see the "historical" and the "true" constellations e.g. here.

  • $\begingroup$ Thank you for figuring out just what it was that I was "mis-remembering" and finding a great link to explain it! I'll try to track down the Tyson video and add it to my question. $\endgroup$ – uhoh May 2 '16 at 13:31
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Gosh darn the sky for not sticking to the calendar! This is what standards are for! $\endgroup$ – user11722 May 4 '16 at 0:59

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.