What are the differences between astrology and astronomy? Astrology is the belief that studying the stars can tell us more about our personalities and our futures based on the alignment of celestial bodies. You may be familiar with your own star sign – like Libra or Scorpio – and the supposed effect it has on your own life. Astrologers outline different personality types, and then predict how you will interact with others. They use the movement of the planets for each sign to explain the forces affecting you and predict your future.
Astronomy, on the other hand, is the science of studying the stars that can tell us more not about human lives but about the fate of the universe and its various elements. Galileo, Copernicus, and Kepler were all notable astronomers who helped us better understand the way the universe works. Astronomers study everything from comets to galaxies to black holes.
Astrology is an ancient belief system. Astronomy is a science. No studies or patterns or experiences have proved astrology true, although many people believe in its powers. Astronomy is a verifiable science that relies on data and proof.
Astrology: Determining our Fate
You can imagine the ancient people, some millennia ago, looking up at the night sky and wondering at it all. Without the pollution of artificial lights, the light of the stars dominated the night sky. Ancient Egyptians and Greeks wondered what the stars were, and what power these burning lights had over human lives. They studied the patterns and assigned signs and meaning to the stars and planets that they saw.
These studies are the basis for astrology. Ancient myths and tales explained the movement of the stars. The stars explained, in turn, the fates of human lives. This is a method of divination, or predicting the future.
Elements of Astrology
Astrology may have questionable predictive value but its observations of the movement of the stars are genuine and based on careful records. The basis of astrology is dividing the movement of the sky into certain categories based on signs. These signs correlate to certain mythological figures and stories. Gemini, for instance, is the sign of the twins. This corresponds to the twins from mythology, Castor and Pollux. (Although they were twins, Castor was born mortal – he had to die some day – and Pollux was immortal. Refusing to part at Castor’s death, they chose to be immortalized in the sky instead, side by side, for eternity.)
Each sign corresponds to a different mythological element, from the Golden Fleece of Aries the Ram to the fish that Aphrodite transformed into to escape an assailant for Pisces. Those with a familiarity in Greek mythology will recognize many of the symbols and signs in astrology.
Careers by Star Sign
A belief in astrology suggests that you believe celestial bodies control our fates. Your personality depends on when you were born. There are twelve star signs – just as there are twelve months – and they each possess distinct characteristics. The first sign of the Zodiac is Aries, which starts on March 21. (This is the first day of spring – reckoning the year to start with the vernal equinox and not in January is an ancient way of understanding the world.)
Along with delineating our personalities, astrological forces are believed to determine our best careers and even our futures. You can use it to guide your choices in life when it comes to big decisions about finances and love. You can use astrology not only to understand yourself but also to choose a career path, too. Different personality types are better suited to certain types of work than others. What job is right for your star sign, according to astrology?
Aries is symbolized by the Ram – a bold and bouncing creature who jumps straight into any situation, no matter what’s waiting there. What career could be better than firefighting for this brave soul? With a Ram’s enthusiasm, fearlessness, and energy, an Aries is well-suited to a career as a firefighter.
Tarus is the stable and slow-moving bull. Happy to stay put and enjoy life, the bull needs to be prodded into action. A Taurus is happy with constancy and predictability. This means a career in accounting is well-suited to the dependable nature of the Taurus.
The sign of Gemini is ruled by Mercury. This planet is named after the messenger god Mercury, and he is the essence of communication and speed. Any Gemini loves to talk, chat, or converse. With this natural desire to communicate, a career in writing is the perfect fit for the mercurial twin.
Cancer the Crab is a nurturer. Sensitive and perceptive, this sign is well-suited to a career as a caretaker. Whether it’s childcare or medicine, the Cancer excels at taking care of others.
The lion is king of the jungle, and that symbol fits the Leo personality. The Leo is the superstar of the Zodiac. With a sense of daring, a strong sense of self, and an unimpeachable pride, the Leo is the perfect match for a career in sales. Who could resist buying something from this persuasive and charming fire sign?
Virgo the Virgin loves order, cleanliness, and rationality. Ruled by Mercury the Communicator, just like Gemini, Virgo wants to pass its understanding of the world on to others. This makes this sign perfectly suited to a career in teaching.
Libra is symbolized by the scales – of balance, of justice, of fairness. Libra loves for things to be beautiful and go smoothly. With this interest in everyone getting what is due to them, the Libra is well-suited to a career in law. A legal career not only fuels the Libra’s interest in fairness but also provides a life of comfort for this sybaritic sign.
The scorpion is mysterious, deep, and always seeks to understand. With this keen insight, a career in psychology fits the Scorpio’s personality. Helping others by helping them understand themselves is the right job for this sensitive water sign.
The Sagittarius is adventurous and energetic. Symbolized by the Archer, the Sagittarius is always looking higher for accomplishments and goals. Where next to aim that arrow? The Sagittarius is perfect as a life coach who can tell you where to head next, and has the energy to push you to that level.
The goat loves to climb higher and higher. These traits are true of Capricorn the Goat, too, who is ambitious to a fault. Constant challenges appeal to this Zodiac sign. What’s next to conquer? What’s the best way to succeed? The world of information technology offers these challenges. IT offers the Capricorn new challenges daily and a solid career.
This sign is symbolized by the water bearer. Water is essential but mutable. It helps human life at every turn. What else is like that? Science is a field for creative Aquarian souls who seek understanding but detest boredom and predictability. New challenges and new revelations will keep the Aquarius engaged.
The Pisces is the final sign of the Zodiac. It is mystical, and all-encompassing. The fish is creative, and multi-faceted. They can see things from someone else’s point of view. This makes them well-suited to a career as a graphic designer. A graphic designer understands the interface from a user’s point of view and interprets that visually. The Pisces, with her understanding and holistic view, is perfect for this position.
Astronomy: The Fault is Not in Our Stars
Have you watched Neil DeGrasse Tyson on “Cosmos”? Have you visited your local planetarium? Have you ever gazed through a telescope at the night sky? You have already discovered your interest in astronomy.
Astronomy is the scientific study of the stars and planets and other space phenomena. From the lunar eclipse to the recurring comet, from the nature of stars to the movement of the Earth, astronomers can predict and explain the happenings of our sky.
Astronomy is what explains the days and months and years of our lives. How does the sun move? How does the moon move? What are the orbits of the planets? And why is Pluto not considered a planet any more? Astronomers have answers for all these questions and more.
Within the field of astronomy there are specialized sub-fields to study specific phenomena. Observational astronomers look up at the sky and study galaxies, planets, and stars directly. Theoretical astronomers use that information and understanding of the way these elements behave to analyze and theorize how systems came to be. Since no single human can ever see the complete life cycle of a star – which takes millions of years to come into being, exist, and then die – observational and theoretical astronomy often overlap.
- Astronomers can specialize further, and study more specific elements of the universe.
- Astrometry is the measurement of the position of the planets and of stars.
- Stellar astronomy focuses specifically on the study of stars.
- Galactic astronomy aims bigger, and is the study of the structure of galaxies, which are composed of millions of stars.
- Astrophysics focuses on the physics – like luminosity, temperature, and chemical composition – of elements in our Universe.
- Cosmology is the most all-engrossing sub-field – it studies the origin and evolution of the whole Universe.
Astrology vs. Astronomy
Both astrology and astronomy have their origins in humans long ago looking up at the sparkling night sky or observing the movement of the sun and wondering what made it all happen. Astrology uses those observations to draw conclusions about people’s personalities and to predict the future. Astronomy is a rigorous science that is constantly evolving as it seeks to explain how the universe works and what our place in it is.
We can all learn lessons from both fields. Even if you do not believe that the planets and stars hold power over human personalities and lives, you can read about the different characteristics of the signs of the Zodiac. In reading about different personalities, you might recognize some elements of your own character. Are you talkative? Are you adventurous? Are you sensitive? You do not need to be a Gemini, a Sagittarius, or a Pisces for these to be true!
Likewise, looking up at the stars and knowing there are scientific reasons why and how the light reaches us and the celestial bodies move is humbling. It can give us a greater appreciation for the way our world works, and help us forget trifling problems.