If you have ever struggled to understand the world around you, help is at hand. Here, from the pages of the Reader's Digest book 1001 Science Questions Answered, are the solutions to 13 everyday mysteries.
Do the stars influence our destiny?
Astrologers claim that our destiny is influenced by the position of the Sun, Moon and the planets in relation to the stars. However, numerous research projects – some carried out according to criteria laid down jointly by astrologers and astronomers – have shown that such connections do not exist.
When a daily horoscope in the newspaper seems unusually accurate it is because it is so cleverly composed that almost any reader can identify with it. However, it would be unfair to accuse astrologers of cheating the public. Many are simply trying to offer sensible advice about dealing with everyday problems. Nevertheless, their work is based on a false doctrine and unscientific principles.
What makes up the zodiac?
When we talk about the zodiac, we are referring to constellations through which the Sun moves in the course of the year. These constellations are mostly named after animals and cover an area about 14° wide running above and below the Sun’s apparent annual path across the heavens. Even though we cannot see these stars by day, they are still there, hidden by the brightness of the Sun.
Originally there were 12 signs of the zodiac, but since the adoption of constellation boundaries defined by the International Astronomical Union in 1930, the Sun now passes through a 13th constellation – Ophiuchus, the serpent bearer. The Sun crosses through Ophiuchus in moving from Scorpius to Sagittarius, but Ophiuchus is not included in the traditional signs of the zodiac.
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