The Difference Between Astronomy and Astrology

Astronomy and astrology are two very similar sounding names with one very big difference. Astrology is a group of beliefs and schools of thought that posits that the relative positions of the sun, moon, stars and other celestial bodies can provide information about an individual’s personality or even fate. Meanwhile, astronomy is the scientific study of celestial bodies, and is often closely related to astrophysics. In short, astronomy is the study of the heavens, while astrology is the study of their effects on human beings.

It is easy to see how the two of them might have become confused with one another. After all, in ancient Mesopotamia, around 3000 to 3500 BC, the Sumerian priests would often study the night skies to draw portents of the future from the stars above them. However, while they did this, they were also recording the movements of the stars themselves, as well as those of the moon and its various phases. This activity combined both astrology and astronomy, and ever since, those who study the night sky can be considered astronomers or astrologists, though the difference lies chiefly in the objective with which they observe the heavens.

Astronomy, as befits a professional discipline of scientific study, is well accepted throughout the world as a hard science, particularly since it is closely linked with astrophysics. Astronomers obtain findings, which are analyzed with astrophysics, and theorized phenomena in astrophysics are confirmed by observations made by astronomers. The entire process is well documented, backed up by hard evidence and proven theories, and stands up to rigorous peer scrutiny. As a result, astronomers can command respect as those who unlock the mysteries veiled by the shroud of the night sky.

In contrast to astronomy, there is little to no scientific basis in astrology; in fact, most real scientists consider astrology a pseudoscience or superstition. However, just because a field of study cannot be proven with empirical data does not mean it does not mean it is wrong, or that it does not have supporters. In India, for example, belief in astrology is widely practiced, and even in developed and Westernized countries like Singapore, some traditionalists still believe in comparing the “sheng cheng ba zi,” or the “eight astrological signs of birth” between potential mates to ensure their compatibility. You might perhaps know your own star sign – that is in itself a form of astrology. While information derived from astrology not perfectly accurate, some might still find that it is accurate enough, and live with peace of mind by knowing.

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