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NASA Changes Zodiac Signs? Astrologers Respond

NASA Changes Zodiac Signs? Astrologers Respond

In episode 88 of the podcast Austin Coppock and Kelly Surtees join the show to discuss and dispel recent rumors that NASA has changed the signs of the zodiac, and clarify the relationship between the zodiacal signs and constellations.

Below you will find the show notes, followed by links to download or stream the recording of our discussion.

Episode Outline

An outline of some of the topics we talked about and points made during the episode:

Timeline of September NASA Rumor

This is a short timeline that I attempted to put together in order to explain the sequence of how the September 2016 NASA rumor came out:

Zodiac Issue

  • The three “zodiacs”: constellational, sidereal, tropical.
    • Only the tropical and sidereal zodiacs are typically used in practice as reference systems.
    • Tropical zodiac aligned with equinoxes and solstices, sidereal with constellations.
  • Zodiac standardized to 12 signs of 30 degrees each around 5th century BCE.
    • Around the same time natal astrology was developed.
  • Most of the qualities associated with the signs didn’t come about until 1st century BCE.
  • Tropical and sidereal zodiacs roughly aligned then.
  • Some qualities taken from the tropical zodiac, some from sidereal.
    • Part of the misconception is the assumption that all of the qualities that astrologers associated with the signs are derived from the constellations, which is not true.
  • Precession – slow drift apart – 1 degree every 72 years.
  • Tropical zodiac already used by Hipparchus in the 2nd century BCE.
  • Ptolemy firmly establishes tropical zodiac for western astrologers in 2nd century CE.
  • Western astrologers largely using tropical zodiac since 2nd century.
  • Sun-sign columns developed in 1930s predicated on tropical zodiac.
  • To the extent that western astrology has been predicated on the tropical zodiac for 1800 years now, nothing has changed.

Further Reading

Articles each of us wrote in response to the original 2011 zodiac controversy, which are still relevant today:


A full transcript of this episode is available: Episode 88 transcript

Watch the Video Version

Update 7/17/2020: This episode was recorded before I started doing video versions of each episode regularly, although I did re-release an audio version on YouTube on July 17, 2020, for those who prefer to subscribe or listen to the podcast through YouTube:

Listen to This Episode

You can either play this episode of the podcast directly from the website or download it as an MP3 to your computer by using the buttons below:

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  • Last sentence in the last link of the Timeline: “Seriously, Mercury must be in retrograde.”
    (╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻
    Mercury was retrograde during August 30 to September 22.

  • I think perhaps this one sided story article, which keeps poping up every other year, has some significant reflection to offer us and our modern world view, after all. If we believe in the old axiom “As above so below”. This could signify we are becoming conscious of a different world, (aka cosmology) and how we may be connected to it, looking at it with our new modern eyes, in reference to healing ourselves and our world. Perhaps it is our call after all. This 13 sign, ” Ophiuchus is the “serpent bearer.” associated with Healers, and those who are attracted and resonating with this, are being called upon to play this role in the world. (which needs as many healers as possible)

  • I’m fairly new to astrology, and I struggle with the significance that astrologers place on the misrepresentation of astrology in media (why does it matter, really?), especially with this recurring story, which was summed up nicely early in the podcast as ‘click bait.’ Probably the best thing about this episode is that it can leverage the fury of clicks that result from this story to bring searchers to the truth. Otherwise, it hardly seems worthy of an entire episode. Having said that, you guys–as always–cover the subject nicely and thoroughly. The truth is always worth hearing, but maybe better served up in a compilation (maybe a monthly astrological news episode?)

    • Some of us have our lives and careers closely tied in with astrology, and so it is difficult to deal with situations where there are major news stories that are spreading misinformation about the subject, and there is always an impulse to want to set the record straight. I hadn’t done a specific episode on this particular topic before, so I wanted to take the opportunity to do one this time since this issue is sure to come up again in the future, and it would be good for people who are searching for information on the subject to have a more reliable resource to draw on.

  • I appreciate Chris’s comment : “It is unfortunate that the constellation names were adopted by tropical astrology since that creates confusion”

    in terms of the NASA decree “Astrology is not a science” Psychologists are not considered to be scientists either!

    It is ironic that this is the 88th episode since that is the number of constellations recognized by AstronoMERS.

    Maybe the stealth message here for AstroloGERS who can be the bigger persons here is HEY THERE IS A SHAMAN IN THE SKY (Ophiucius) ! Open your eyes heavenward and download the multitude of shamanic teachings ( the 88 constellations ) from the ancient world! archetypes Isn’t that how Astrology started?

  • I think the crux of what needs to be addressed is where the signs originated from. I feel that they originated as Cosmic Archetypes. This podcast does a good job explaining the difference between Sidereal and Tropical Astrology, but we need to tap into the source of where the Zodiac signs come from at all, and the relationship between the two calendars to those signs. Sidereal does it in exact accordance with the constellations themselves, while Tropical seems to do it in a more Seasonal sort of way. By the way, Science has something called Seasonal Biology, but they still have a problem with Astrology.

    But it seems that the Sidereal has a relationship with the Constellations while the Tropical has a relationship with the Zodiacal archetypes. The Constellations were the inspiration for the Signs, as was said in the Podcast. The Tropical Astrologers then took those archetypal signs that they received from the Constellations and refined the Zodiac. Where this inspiration came from for these various signs, and whether they are more prominent in accordance to their exact positions or not is the crux of what needs to be addressed.

    Personally, it doesn’t matter for me since I have always resonated with both Scorpio and Sagittarius, and am also a cusper of both. In the Tropical I am a zero degrees Sagittarius and in the Sidereal I am zero degrees Scorpio. In my Natal chart in accordance to the Tropical, I have a heavy Mars-Pluto conjunction in Scorpio right next to my Sag sun. I’m not sure how my chart looks in accordance to the Sidereal, however. If it’s different here, then our relationship with the archetypal energies in accordance to our charts is what needs to be addressed.

    As was also mentioned, there are more Constellations out there, which I feel could leave room for Cosmic Astrology in the future.

    • Hi Thanks for your comment I like the term “Cosmosaic:! Sidereal Astrology does NOT conform to the actual Stars in the sky since it chops up into 30 degrees… each the actual constellations vary in size– I believe that Chris Brennan mentioned that -he is a top-notch scholar in my opinion. For example, Cancer is @10 degrees where as Virgo is 55 degrees and there are numerous programs that will show you the real star on your birthday AstronoMERS use them AstroloGERS can too! In terms of origins of the Zodiac try Gavin White: Babylonian Astronomy https://solariapublications.com/2011/10/25/a-brief-guide-to-the-babylonian-constellations/

  • Do we know for sure that the zodiac was first sidereal ?

    If we look at very old archaeological sites (Stonehenge in UK, Carnac in France and so), they are all linked to the tropical year (equinoxes, solstices), rather than the stars. From there, you divide a solar year into 12 lunar months (because there are 12 new moons each year). The tropical is dead simple and the first primitive zodiac was tropical IMHO (even we may have no writings about that, only stones).

    Furthermore, the zodiac symbolism is very tropical : Libra, equinox ; Capricorn, the goat climbing the mountain after the Winter solstice ; Cancer, the sun moving backward like a crab after the Summer solstice ; Virgo the harvest ; Scorpio, killing the sun before Winter ; and so.

  • I am sure that you guys are right about the health site using astrology just to get views. Views from the ‘spiritual spending community. How small a stone it took to rend a crack in their glass belief of the ancient arts ::sigh:: New age indeed…
    This episode was excellent and informative. Thank you guys for doing it.