Some people confuse astronomy and astrology with each other. They are very different fields with very different applications, despite the ways in which they interconnect.
What is the Difference Between Astrology and Astronomy?
Astrology used to be considered a science, but today we make a clear distinction between the advanced mathematics of astronomical science and the metaphysics of astrology.
The difference between astronomy and astrology, as confirmed by the American Astronomical Society:
- Astronomy as a science that tracks the movement of celestial bodies.
- Astrology as the belief that the positioning of the stars and planets affect the way events occur on earth.
Celestial Physics Versus Celestial Metaphysics
In simple terms, astronomy is a natural science based on “what is” as defined by math and physics, and astrology is an art based on “what can be inferred from what is” rooted in metaphysics, philosophy, and the social sciences.
This isn’t to say that one is more valid than the other. Astronomy is a science used by NASA to advance our understandings of the physical universe with mathematical exactness. Astrology is a metaphysical art and philosophy used by fortune tellers in an attempt gain insight into their lives. Both draw on the physical sciences, mathematics, and philosophy for their understanding, but astrology specifically looks at the universe through the lens of societal and interpersonal relationships.A video about the difference between astrology and astronomy.
FACT: This lecture on the technology throughout history by Derek de Solla Price from Yale 1976 talks about how the sciences evolved. Some of what we consider pseudoscience today was simply the best guesses of the time or was the non-scholarly understanding of things at the time. Today we understand astronomy as a science, and astrology as a pseudoscience. Other pseudoscience like aether, the classical elements, alchemy, and more simply evolved to become chemistry, physics, and quantum physics. Astrology has uniquely held it’s popularity over time, likely due to it’s deeply interesting metaphysical roots.
What are the Differences Between an Astrologer and an Astronomer?
An astrologer looks at positions of celestial bodies over time and makes predictions about how events will unfold and how humans are affected on a physical, emotional, spiritual, and mental level. An astronomer studies the position of celestial bodies and their relationship to the universe in an effort to understand the nature of space.
An astronomer seeks truth in the natural world based on the mathematical laws of the universe; an astrologer seeks truth in humanity using a constellation-based system of divination.
Both can help us better understand the universe.
Astronomy and Astrology linguistically refer to the stars, but their fields of study are very different.