In Brief

Think you know your star sign? Most likely, you don't

Thanks to a phenomenon that has altered the position of the constellations we see today, most of us have the wrong horoscope

Some 98 per cent of Britons know their star sign, but the majority of them are wrong, according to the BBC.

Your star sign is supposed to be the constellation that was behind the sun when you were born, says the broadcaster – and for some 86 per cent of us, this is not the constellation we believe our star sign to be.

The discrepancy arises because the dates associated with star signs were set some 2,000 years ago when the zodiac was first invented. But the dates of the year are not properly in sync with the movement of the stars.

The phenomenon is called "precession", says the BBC, and it means the constellations have "drifted" out of their allocated date slots by about a month.

For example, Princess Charlotte, born on 2 May 2015, is "officially" a Taurus. In reality, the constellation behind the sun when she was born was Aries.

"As we orbit round the Sun, a different constellation appears behind it each month. Ancient astronomers named this ring the zodiac, meaning 'circle of animals'," explains Dara O'Briain. "It was the Greeks who came up with the idea of the personal 'star sign' – character traits determined by the constellation behind the Sun on the day you were born.

"The astrologers ran with this and that's where the problems started for the astronomers out there. The dates of the 'star signs' were fixed, over 2,000 years ago, when the zodiac was first devised."

On top of this, ancient astrologers divided the 360 degree path of the Sun into 12 equal parts, but in reality the boundaries that divide the constellations are far from equal, says the BBC.

The astronomical zodiac even contains a 13th constellation, called Ophiuchus, which sits behind the Sun from 30 November to 18 December.

The real astronomical star signs:

Capricorn: 21 January - 16 February

Aquarius: 17 February - 12 March

Pisces: 13 March - 18 April

Aries: 19 April - 14 May

Taurus: 15 May - 21 June

Gemini: 22 June - 20 July

Cancer: 21 July - 10 August

Leo: 11 August - 16 September

Virgo: 17 September - 31 October

Libra: 1 November - 23 November

Scorpio: 24 November - 29 November

Ophiuchus: 30 November - 18 December

Sagittarius: 19 December - 20 January

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