NASA changed the zodiac signs?

A number of my friends shared a picture of a table of the new date ranges for each star sign, originally uploaded by Bee Talk, an online dating app from Taiwan, on Facebook on 25/9, saying that such changes were made as NASA had introduced the 13th zodiac sign.

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https://www.facebook.com/beetalktaiwan/photos/a.279323792225454.1073741828.276078875883279/641473146010515/

After a simple Google search, I found that quite a number of English media have reported this “NASA’s new decision” as well. Here is one example from Refinery29, dated 17/9.

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http://www.refinery29.com/2016/09/123506/nasa-zodiac-signs-new-horoscope-dates

It mentioned that NASA pointed out in its blog the existence of the 13th constellations, Ophiuchus, which has long been forgotten as the Babylonians thought that a 12-constellation system was easier to be corresponded to the 12-month calendar system 3,000 years ago, and thus the current date ranges for each star sign are inaccurate. A new, accurate one should be implemented instead (shown in the screenshot).

The article also included a link to the blog post it mentioned which stated the existence of Ophiuchus ( http://spaceplace.nasa.gov/starfinder2/en/ ) . However, the intention of the blog post is to educate children about the zodiac system instead of announcing a new discovery or decision. It also explained the difference between astronomy and astrology, which the first one is science while the latter one is not.  Therefore, it is inappropriate to say that NASA has changed the zodiac signs.

Interestingly, the date ranges in the picture shared on Facebook and in the article by Refinery29 are slightly different. Since the blog post by NASA did not feature the new date ranges for the 13 signs, the date ranges were probably made up by somebody else.

In fact, BBC has published an article titled “How rumours that Nasa had changed star signs spread” on 21/9 ( http://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-trending-37419182 ). It debunked the rumours with the details of how the Internet went crazy after Cosmopolitan had misinterpreted the blog post from NASA.

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http://www.cosmopolitan.co.uk/entertainment/news/a45943/star-sign-horoscope-change-2016/

However, some of the media and social media users are still unware of that and continue to spread the rumours further, just like what BeeTalk did on 25/9. Therefore, it is very important for every media worker to verify the information before publishing it. Once published, it is very difficult to stop it from spreading no matter how many clarifications are made, especially when it involves an authority such as NASA. This incident could have been avoided if the people working at Cosmopolitan did read the article carefully before drawing a conclusion that NASA has changed the zodiac signs.

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