Digital and Social Media Analytics Blog

New Year, New Zodiac: What’s an Ophiuchus?

The Minnesota Planetarium Society has revolutionized the pseudoscience of astrology, and identity crises now abound. A new astrological sign has been added, and the dates for the preexisting 12 have shifted. As evidenced by the Volume chart below, news about this apparent change in horoscopes spread like wildfire yesterday, and science fiction blog io9 decided to get to the bottom of it.

It turns out Parke Kunkle of the Minnesota Planetarium Society mentioned, in a discussion of the gradual shift of the Earth’s axis, that astronomers include all 13 constellations when calculating the position of the sun. His comments then took on a life of their own, spreading throughout News and Social Media. I even heard it discussed on the radio yesterday morning.

Since the start of the new year, the ‘new’ sign, the Ophiuchus, has generated just short of $900K of Impact Media Value, which measures exposure.

However, Ophiuchus’ Perception Value (-$265K) indicates that most people are dissatisfied with the sign’s addition.

The chart below shows that  Ophiuchus was primarily mentioned on Twitter.

Apparently, when the ancient Babylonians were putting together the zodiac, they decided 12 was a better number than 13 (perhaps they were triskaidekaphobic or just plain superstitious), so they kicked Ophiuchus out of the group. Many who thought they were Sagittarians or Capricorns have now become defined by the sign of Ophiuchus, and most don’t seem to be happy about it. The representative posts below demonstrate some of the Sentiment expressed toward Ophiuchus.

Since I’m sure you’re dying to know, here are the new delineations:

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
Sagittarius: Dec. 17 – Jan. 20

(Unfortunately, no one seems to know what it means if you were born on one of the overlapping dates.)

Oh, and as for what an Ophiuchus is: according to TIME it’s “a man wrestling a serpent, dividing the snake’s body in two parts.”

Meanwhile, CNN wants everyone to know that there’s no need to get rid of your zodiac tattoos. Apparently, there are two zodiacs: the tropical zodiac, which is fixed to seasons and used in Western astrology, and the sidereal zodiac, which is fixed to constellations and utilized in the East. (The sidereal is the one that changed.) Good news: you can use whichever one you want.

And for those of you who could care less about astrology, just move along. This will all be over soon.

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Posted in Chelsea's Blog, General Sentiment's Blog

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