17 January 2011

Astronomers Stirring Up Astrological Debate: Baloney!

I would like to make this very public announcement. I was born under the sign of Taurus; and whatever this recent big to-do has been about the supposed changing of the astrological birth chart, I have no intention whatsoever of relinquishing my Taurean affiliation.

Personally, I do not even see what the big fuss is all about. The other day, one of my former players text-ed me to ask if it was true that the birth signs as we had always thought of them were no longer relevant. Some of the boys, it has to be said, sometimes think I am some kind of Ernie Baron.

I did not even know what he was talking about; and since it was a bit late in the night, I replied that I did not have the foggiest and could we please talk about it some other time. Not that I had any intention of discussing the matter any further because it was one of those things that was so easy to dismiss as an utter waste of time.

Yesterday, though, I traveled with the high school team for a league match; and some of the boys were discussing among themselves how they thought it was totally incredible that the birth signs they always thought they were born under were never what they were really supposed to be. “So I am no longer under Leo,” one of the boys lamented. “Now I am under the sign of Cancer.”

I had little to contribute to the discussion; albeit, I was starting to get intrigued. Still, because my mind was on the game, I forgot all about the matter for the second time.

Earlier today, though, I had some slack time and decided to investigate. From what I could surmise, a group of astronomers from Minnesota are proposing to astrologers that they add a thirteenth birth sign to compensate for the inaccuracies in the way the latter determine a person’s birth sign. But I am getting ahead of myself…

First of all, as far as Astrology is concerned, a person’s birth sign is determined by the position of the sun vis-à-vis the constellations in the skies on the day that that person is born. A person’s birth sign has been thought of as far back as the time of the ancient Mesopotamians as something that also determines certain personality traits. Moreover, the birth sign is also thought of as something that has some sort of influence on the daily peaks and troughs of daily living.

Because of the gravitational pull that the Moon exerts on planet Earth – or so the Minnesota astronomers point out – the position of the constellations in relation to the orbit of the Earth is not what it used to be from the time the ancient Mesopotamians started turning to the stars for omens to read. In other words – and as an example – if a person is born with the sun supposedly in Cancer, in fact in terms of the sun’s exact present position relative to the constellations, it is actually aligned more with Gemini.

The traditional Astrological Chart – again, according to the Astronomers – is off by a whole month that a thirteenth sign is being proposed: Ophuchicus, the snake holder. Thus, the proposed revised chart is supposed to look like this:

Capricorn: Jan 20 to Feb 16
Aquarius: Feb 16 to Mar 11
Pisces: Mar 11 to Apr 18
Aries: Apr 18 to May 13
Taurus: May 13 to Jun 21
Gemini: Jun 21 to Jul 20
Cancer: Jul 20 to Aug 10
Leo: Aug 10 to Sep 16
Virgo: Sep 16 to Oct 30
Libra: Oct 30 to Nov 23
Scorpius: Nov 23 to Nov 29
Ophuchicus: Nov 29 to Dec 17
Sagittarius: Dec 17 to Jan 20

The discussions, from all indications, are by no means local. Indeed, Twitter has noted that, over the weekend, tweets and searches globally were largely on the subject. Personally, I think too many people have too much time on their hands; and this goes straight into my books under the category “Sublime Waste of Precious Time.”

For starters, Astronomy is a Science and is – therefore – premised on exactness. The astronomers are pointing out that there was no way the ancient Mesopotamians could have known that the orbit of the Earth was changing. Then again, neither did astronomers until powerful telescopes started to be developed.

Telescopes these days are so advanced and powerful that, in fact, astronomers have gone beyond simply observing the changing orbit of the planets of the Universe but, instead, even the movements of whole galaxies. In fact, observations of these movements are nullifying erstwhile textbook materials and are giving birth to a whole new gamut of theories pertaining to the birth of the Universe. To make a long story short, it is almost common knowledge that everything in the Universe is in constant movement; has been so, as a matter of fact, since the theoretical Big Bang.

On the other hand, Astrology – although it is studied widely – has never made any pretensions about exactness. It is not even a proper Science; if at all. There are, in fact, astrologers who are saying that they have known about the misalignments of the Sun with the constellations as indicated by their charts for some time. They have just not seen the need to make any changes.

I agree completely! In fact, I cannot even see the point why scientists would want to stir up controversy in a field more thought of as mysticism. It does not add up.

For the record, I do enjoy reading the Horoscopes every now and again. When I was in college, I was asked by the Guidance Office staff to take a personality test. The results were almost a replica of the traits thought of as those associated with people born under the sign of Taurus. If I were to follow the proposed chart, I would fall under the sign of Aries.

Baloney!

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