One of my biggest fascinations has always been astrology. Reading the horoscopes became a daily habit for me. I became so addicted to astrology, that I would constantly ask my friends and family what their signs were. Because I was born on March, I am considered an Aries in the current astrological horoscopes. As an “Aries,” I am described as a “courageous, optimistic, and independent person.” Although I knew that astrology is not based on factual information, there was a part of me that wanted to believe that the horoscopes were telling the truth. I wanted to believe that my personality was exactly how it was described.
As I surfed through the internet one day, I came across a blog that argued that the current zodiac signs were completely inaccurate. I did not fully understand the concept, so I quickly dismissed the idea. In addition to not understanding the concept, the thought of not being an Aries bothered me. It was not until I became an intern at the Adler Planetarium that I understood the misconception. I soon learned that one’s zodiac sign is determined by the location of the sun on the day of one’s birthday. For example, if a person is born on January, his or her zodiac sign would be Capricorn because the sun is located on the Capricorn constellation during that time. As a telescope intern at the Adler, one of my tasks is to create space tours using the a software called ‘Worldwide Telescope.’ This software allows one to see the location of the sun as far a thousand years ago. I found this interesting, so I decided to see where the sun was located the day I was born. To my surprise, the sun was located on the Pisces constellation, not Aries.
Confused, I decided to talk to one of the astronomers. He explained that the reason why the horoscopes were inaccurate was because the earth wobbles causing the position of the constellations to move little by little every year. This process is called precession. Because of precession, the constellations have completely moved over thousands of years. The study of astrology began over a thousand years ago. Imagine how much the constellations have shifted over that long period of time.Now, instead of the sun being in the Aries constellation in March, it is located in the Pisces constellation. Although I was a little disappointed, learning this new information increased my fascination towards astrology. Even though I’m not sure how the misconception of horoscopes matters, it is captivating to think about how we as humans are connected to the stars.