"We're mostly concerned with science and the facts, but astrology is just a mess, and this might help with astrologers predictions", says Dr. George VanDelay, author of the proposal, with more than a hint of sarcasm.
What precipitated this controversial shift in policy is the fact that the Sun actually travels through thirteen constellations as seen from the Earth on its annual trip around our nearest star. These are the twelve traditional zodiac constellations and Ophiuchus. "We tried to get the thirteenth sign, Ophiuchus, officially recognized as a zodiacal sign a few years ago, but the traditionalists insisted on keeping a dozen only", VanDelay explained. "The problem is the Sun is in the constellation Scorpius for less than a week, while it resides in Ophiuchus for almost three weeks out of the year."
|The red dashed line is the Sun's path through Scorpius and Ophiuchus|
The crowd of astronomers in the main Westin Hotel conference room reacted angrily at first. "Most astronomers prefer the solution we came up with before; adding Ophiuchus to the Zodiac. That represents the more scientific approach to this ages old problem. There are already millions of people who have adopted Ophiuchus as their Sun sign", said Dr. Ken Marvelous of the AAS. "But, VanDelay makes a lot of sense. We just have to make sure the IAU doesn't try to demote Scorpius to 'dwarf constellation' status with this redrawing of the boundaries."
"We tried to reason with astrologers on this Ophiuchus issue before", said VanDelay. "Now it seems the best way to resolve the whole thing forever, is to just eliminate Scorpius from the equation." By the time VanDelay was done laying out his plan to take a constellation reorganization plan to the IAU, the crowd was energized and gave him a standing ovation. It seems almost certain the AAS will endorse this restructuring of the zodiac. This kind of proposal usually takes a couple years to make it through the IAU submissions process, but VanDelay has already quietly submitted a written proposal, so this will be on the agenda at the next IAU General Assembly in Beijing, August 20-31, 2012.
"This is a brilliant plan", said Dr. Wilson Hale of UC Berkeley, "They already cut off the Scorpion's claws ages ago to create the constellation Libra. That just shows how arbitrary this whole thing is."
Angelica Spock from University of Missouri added, "It's no secret that astrological predictions have never been less reliable that they are today. My horoscope is almost never right any more. Maybe this will help astrologers get their act together."