Astronomy vs. Astrology: Is Astrology a Bust?

During lecture in my astronomy class on Wednesday, my Professor began the class asking us, “What is astrology?” and “How is it different from astronomy?”. At the beginning of the semester, we all filled out a questionnaire and most of the class said either that the two were directly related or that they were basically the same thing. In reality, as our Professor explained, astronomy is a science while astrology is unproven and not testable. To be more specific, astronomy is the scientific study of the celestial objects, their movement, and phenomenon beyond the Earth’s atmosphere. Celestial objects include planets, stars, nebulas, comets, star clusters, and galaxies. On the other hand, Astrology is the attempt to determine ones destiny. Astrology is a false science, or pseudoscience. I know you all have heard of horoscopes which are based on your astronomical or “zodiac” sign. Astrologer’s believe that there are twelve signs: Aquarius, Pisces, Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, and Capricorn. So, if there are twelve signs and you divide that by the six billion people on Earth, come to find, astrologers are saying that five million people are going to have the same destiny. This is not physically possible. Also, if you haven’t already noticed, the daily and monthly horoscopes that astrologers predict are different in every magazine and website.  The readings are so broad that really anyone could relate and make it fit into their life. Accuracy and factuality in astrology is clearly non-existent.

Your zodiac sign is supposed to be based on which constellation the sun was in on the day you were born. Astrologers developed this concept over 2,000 years ago, but what nobody knew, is that constellations shift. According to astrologers there are twelve signs, but due to the movement of the constellations caused by precession, a thirteenth sign has entered the suns path, Ophiuchus.  Precession is essentially the wobbling of the Earth on its axis due to the gravity of the Sun and the Moon. For example, if you spin a spinning top on a table, it begins to wobble as it slows down. One “wobble” or complete cycle takes about 26,000 years. To understand the significance of precession, you must know that the north star, Polaris, has not always been our north star. Earth’s north axis pointed to Thuban 5,000 years ago. Since then, constellations have been shifted so much that our “astrological signs” are a complete constellation off.

Although many of you will probably continue to believe in your astrological signs, just remember one thing, astronomy is SCIENCE. Astrology is merely a mythological representation of a group of astrologers attempting to predict ones destiny.


About MissCrys66

I am a 20 year old student at Saginaw Valley State University. I have just completed my third year of college in pursuit of a finance degree. This summer I am attending Delta College as a guest student and have created this blog for use within my professional writing class.

Posted on May 20, 2011, in Astrology, Astronomy, Earth, Horoscope, precession, Sun, Universe, zodiac. Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. Boy has astronomy changed since I was in grade school! Back then there were still only 9 known planets and they were from the only galaxy known – ours. I guess a lot of people know the difference between astronomy and astrology, but humans have some sort of desire to be superstitous. This is what drives them to be attracted to astrology – that and the hope that their IS a silver lining out there somewhere that they can count on. I think astronomy is one of the most important areas of study. You never know, maybe one day soon we will meet life on another planet.

  2. Savil Sinclair

    MissCrys66, I think I’ve been waiting for years to discuss this with someone and then you came along.
    I did two birth charts in the late 1970s based on a book designed for that purpose: to build birth charts. According to your blog, does it mean that the predictions I made in the chart may eventually be incorrect because astrology is “merely a mythological representation”?

  3. A great topic, especially for readers who do not know a lot (or anything) about astronomy. This is one of the more confusing aspects: nomenclature. It’s the same trouble some people have with geography and geology, but worse since astronomy and astrology both have to do with stars and planets!

    Of all links, I’m curious why you linked “spinning top”? Did you not know what this was and so assumed your reader would not know either?

    There are some errors and inconsistencies in the writing, so do go back and edit carefully (and look at what WordPress suggests). Your use of capitalization is not consistent in naming astronomy and astrology. Rule of thumb is to use capitals for proper name, but not for a general noun. The use of capital p on professor is not necessary since you are using it as a general noun. If you were to name the professor (as in Professor Pumpernickel), then you would capitalize it.

    What do you mean by “merely a mythological representation”? I ask not only because I teach mythology, but what exactly that means in terms of the connection to mythology.

  4. Yes, I was not sure if the readers would understand my meaning of precession unless they knew what a spinning top was. I wanted to be sure.

    I will go back and edit more carefully.

    Astrology somewhat represents a study of myths because astrological beliefs are not factual and have yet to be proven accurate.

  5. Good read, I always found this topic to be amusing at best and is always a fun read. oh, Birth Charts were a craze in the 1970’s that tracked your destiny in the stars / year you were born, etc etc. Mostly a passing fad like Mood Rings.

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