What “Sign” is the Royal Baby?


A quiet milestone was passed today in the vigil for the Royal Baby.  A question actually made its way around ye’ ole internet with some astrological and astronomical connotations.

Will the baby be a Cancer or a Leo?

Astrologically speaking, that cutoff (astrologers love to refer to this as the “cusp” of a sign or house) was passed today at 12:00 noon Eastern Daylight Time 16:00 Universal Time when solar longitude along the ecliptic equaled 120 degrees. The baby will thus be searching newspapers (online of course) for his or her horoscope as Leo, and we’ll be no doubt reading tales of  his future horoscope to that effect from astrologers worldwide.

But is he or she really?

And that’s were astronomy steps in. Not that it truly matters on the outcome or prospects of the royal baby’s life — the gravitational influence of the doctor and the lights in the delivery room are stronger and brighter than all of the other celestial objects currently overhead at the time of birth combined.

But there’s another issue at play.

Astronomically, the Sun just entered the constellation Cancer this past Saturday, and will remain there along the ecliptic until August 10. Thus, all of us late July babies (including the royal baby and myself) should be Cancers!

What’s going on here?

The Earth, in addition to orbiting our Sun once a year, also wobbles on its axis like a top. When we say “The Sun is in Leo,” we mean that the Sun appears in the direction of the constellation Leo as seen from the Earth. The ecliptic is merely a reflection of the trace of the Earth’s orbit around the Sun. The path that the ecliptic follows is the zodiac, a set of 12 traditional constellations that the Sun appears to pass through from our earthly vantage point.

Reality, however, is never so neat. As revealed to the stunned world a few years back (but astronomers always tried to tell them), the Sun actually passes through the additional constellation of Ophiuchus from October 30th to November 23rd. Ophiuchus is the constellation of the Serpent Bearer, and thus far, no astrologer has stepped forth to tell us what folks born under this sign might be like. Oh, and objects such as the Moon can be found in no less than 18 constellations. Do we need to add in the horoscopes of Aurigans, Corvans and Orionans, as well?http://ginnyross.com/yahoo_site_admin/assets/images/man-astrology.52111932_std.jpg

But this dance is also slowly moving due to said wobble known as the Precession of the Equinoxes.  This wobble takes about 26,000 years to complete, and during this period, the March and September Equinoxes which currently fall in the constellations Virgo and Pisces, move all the way around the zodiac. Same for Polaris, the Pole Star in the constellation Ursa Minor. To the ancient Egyptians, the bright star Thuban in the constellation Draco was the direction the Earth’s northern rotational pole was oriented towards. The movement of precession amounts up to about one degree every 72 years.

Not that astrologers have ever bothered to notice. This is why we now have a discrepancy of amounting up to about one “house” or sign, since the original constellations of the zodiac were assigned by the Greeks.

Such is the sordid state of astrology versus astronomy in the world today that the young royal can look forward to being born into. Calling an astronomer an “astrologer” will still probably be the very best way to torque them off, at least for another 26,000 years ’round the zodiac. Shakespeare once said that “the fault, dear Brutus, lies not in the stars, but in ourselves…” and perhaps that’s where we’ll need to look for a guiding hope for the generation to come.

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