4 Popular Questions People Ask About Astrology And How It Differs From Astronomy

4 Facts about Astrology & How It Differs From Astronomy
Zodiac, Self

It can be confusing; they’re both about space!

Ever read your horoscope? You might be someone who thinks that astrology is true science or perhaps you're a person that believes astronomy is the only thing that's real.

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Considering the similarities between astrology and astronomy (especially how similar the words sound and the subject matter they both study); it’s no wonder that some people can get the two confused and think that horoscopes, zodiac signs, and astrology are just another science like anything else. 

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Frankly, I assume that the only people who truly know the difference are avidly into one or the other (or perhaps both). OR have strong feelings against astrology (there’s always one single-minded, a**hole at a party who has to make everyone feel stupid or annoyed, am I right?).

I assume everyone else has just been too busy minding their own business to really know the difference. If that’s the case – I applaud you (for minding your own business, not for purposeful ignorance, should that be the case). You may just not be 100% sure which is which. This can easily happen when two words are so similar.

There are only so many things we can put into our brains!

I mean, I think most people know that the two have something to do with space and/or the stars … but this may be the extent to your knowledge. And that’s cool, that’s what I’m here for *wink, wink*.

Keep reading and check out the difference between astrology which involves horoscopes and zodiac sign interpretations vs. astronomy and the study of the universe! Plus, check out why astrology is so popular.

1. What is Astronomy?

Astronomy is considered scientific; it is the science that studies everything in the solar system and the way everything in the solar system works. People that study astronomy (astronomers) study space with research and observation based on the scientific method.

2. What is Astrology?

Although a part of mainstream science until the late 1600’s, Astrology is no longer considered scientific. Astrology is more akin to a system of beliefs rather than anything provable by the scientific method. People that study astrology (astrologists) attempt to study the way celestial bodies (namely the planets and the stars) moving affects people and events here on earth. Some consider astrology to be a pseudoscience while others claim that astrology is proven by evidence (even though the “evidence” is generally just based on subjective personal experience).

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3. Why do people get astrology and astronomy confused with each other?

People most likely get astronomy and astrology confused because they both study the same things (i.e. the solar system, the planets, the stars, and the way they move). They also both use similar tools (namely – star charts).

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And since an article published last year in The Independent reported that “58 percent of 18-24-year-old Americans believe astrology is scientific.” It seems that this is the time to set the record straight. There are clear distinctions between the two and it’s important to know the difference.

I think the easiest way to remember the difference is to remember that one is scientific and provable (astronomy) and the other is a belief (astrology).

4. What makes people so obsessed with Astrology?

If I’m being honest, why astrology is so popular has always baffled me. To me, the positioning of the planets and stars doesn’t seem to have much of an effect on me or the people around me, but that doesn’t stop it from being increasingly popular.

According to an article earlier this year in The Atlantic, Astrology is making a comeback with the millennial generation. The article speculates that this is due to the fact that “people tend to turn to astrology in times of stress” and Millennials are known for being the most stressed-out generation.

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Maybe the popularity of astrology stems from the mere human need to turn to your horoscope for comfort or an excuse for your poor behavior. Maybe astrology is just a great source of entertainment for this generation. Or maybe more people really are just starting to believe in astrology and use it to make decisions.

I think the popularity of astrology is explained by the popularity of things like religion and faith in general. In both cases, people need something to believe in. We all want to feel like there is a purpose to this life and that everything happens for a reason. That everything in the universe is destined to be a certain way (so we can justify that things will “work out eventually”). Astrology seems to fill that void in a world with so many problems.

Nicole Bradley-Bernard is a writer who needs coffee more than she needs anyone’s approval. She enjoys putting bright colors in her curly brown hair, spending time outside on cool days and being with her partner in life, Eric, who she considers a continuing source of inspiration.