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    Re: Immutable firmament?
    From: Frank Reed
    Date: 2011 Jan 14, 20:19 -0800

    Gary, you wrote:
    "It appears that I am not the only one questioning the dates used for the astrological zodiac signs"

    Of course not. :) It's been standard pop astronomy blather for decades. The difference here is simply that the insanity of social networking has allowed someone to become famous by repeating the same old yarn. Indeed, it appears he was really just repeating a story that was run by space.com in late December. My condolences to the author of that earlier article... Oh, and I wrote up a rather long reply to the current version of this story on space.com covering some of the same ground we went over last month.

    By the way, Gary, I ran your birth chart about three weeks ago and it made some amazing predictions. It turns out that, thanks to your birth chart specifically, birds will begin falling from the heavens on New Years Eve. It seems that the quadrature of Mars and Jupiter has cancelled the vertical component of the Coriolis effect for January of 2011. I predict that millions of birds will die this year...

    Another little addition to this constellation tale for you. The currently running regurgitations of the story list various dates when the Sun enters the thirteen constellations which cross the ecliptic. But few of these stories note that the constellation boundaries DID NOT EXIST until 1930. The question "when does the Sun enter the constellation Aquarius?" had no meaningful answer at all before that year, but the question "when does the Sun enter the sign Aquarius?" has had an exact and specific answer for many centuries.

    Also, it's interesting to note that the modern constellation boundaries were drawn along lines of Right Ascension and Declination based on coordinates valid in 1875. So, for example, the constellation Sextans, the Sextant (Ha! I got us back on celestial navigation for a moment...), tucked under the constellation Leo, is bounded by a nice neat rectangle of great circle arcs (originally RA) and small circle arcs (originally Dec), but this rectangle is already visibly rotated on modern star charts --thanks to precession. So the sides of the constellation Sextans are no longer arcs of constant Right Ascension. It's a twisted universe we live in...


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