Astronomy vs Astrology

Though both have common origins, the modern concepts of astrology and astronomy have very key differences between them. Due to this, certain concepts referenced by one are not necessarily applicable to the other. Let’s delve into the differences between these two similar concepts.


To put it simply, astronomy is the study of the universe, stars, and celestial bodies in a scientific way. Thanks to astronomy, we are able to know the movements of the planets, the positions of the stars, and so on. The concepts of astronomy are strictly tested using scientific standards. The definitions astronomers use might change over time as new discoveries are made.


Astrology takes the concepts of astrology, such as planetary positions and movements, and correlates them to specific influences on people and events here on Earth. It’s a form of divination, a way to get advice or insight where there otherwise is none. It is considered a pseudoscience, as the concepts cannot be scientifically proven. At one point in the past, astrology and astronomy were essentially one field. However, over time the two split and astrology became what it is today.

It’s important to note that while astronomy is universal world wide, different cultures will have different forms of astrology. The Western Zodiac and the Chinese Zodiac are just two of many foundations for astrology. Every culture has different constellations and stories associated with them. This sort of change across locations means no one system is the definitive way to practice astrology.

The “Planet” Pluto

Astrology uses a lot of concepts from astronomy. For example, it is thanks to astronomy’s calculations that I can ask a computer to generate my birth chart, showing where the stars were when I was born. However, since they have a key split between them, certain concepts do not carry over.

For example, International Astronomical Union (IAU) downgraded the status of Pluto to that of a dwarf planet because it did not meet the three criteria the IAU uses to define a full-sized planet. Fair enough; science has to have rules to be exacting in our understanding of the universe. However, astrology still treats Pluto as a planet. Why? Well, because it holds a place in astrology readings. “Our eight planets and the dwarf planet Pluto” is quite a mouthful. Simpler to just refer to the nine planets previous astrologers referenced and keep it at that.

Astronomy, being a science, will be true whether you believe it or not. Astrology you can choose to believe in if you choose to, with no pressure to do so. It’s interesting to remember, though, how these two things were once one school of study. Early astrologers seeking to map the heavens laid the groundwork for modern astronomers today.

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