Astronomy vs. Astrology: What’s the Difference?

Throughout human history, observation of celestial bodies has been used for navigation, the recording of seasons, and many other useful purposes.

Today, people differentiate between astronomy and astrology. One is a natural science, but the other is a pseudoscience, based more on superstition than the rigorous application of the scientific method.

What is the Difference Between Astronomy and Astrology?

In this article, I will compare astronomy vs. astrology. I will outline their definitions and use each in a sentence. I will also show you a helpful trick to use when deciding whether you mean astronomy or astrology, and why.

When to Use Astronomy

astronomy versus astrology What does astronomy mean? Astronomy is the study of phenomena that occur outside the Earth’s atmosphere. This broad field encompasses objects like stars, comets, planets, and nebulae, as well as processes like orbits, supernovae, and cosmic radiation.

Here are some examples.

  • I took an astronomy course in college, but it met during the day and we never went outside.
  • People have been practicing astronomy for several thousand years.
  • Astronomy is a natural science.
  • As it happens, Mr. Graham-Smith was one of the pioneers of radio astronomy, who opened up the new investigation of the sky in the 1940s using radar technology developed during World War II. –The Wall Street Journal

When to Use Astrology

Definition of astrology definition and definition of astronomy definitionWhat does astrology mean? Astrology is the study of the movements of various celestial bodies as observed from the surface of the Earth, and the interpretation of the effects these movements have on a person’s life. Astrology is closer to an art form than a science, and closer still to a religion.

Like astronomy, astrology is a broad, multifaceted field. Astrology involves predicting the future based on the positions of celestial bodies relative to one another and organized into various groupings of zodiac signs. These zodiac signs are then used to predict a person’s personality traits and the events that will eventually shape his or her life.

It is interesting to note that human perceptions of celestial movement are all made from the same spot in the universe. Should humans ever take up residence in on a different planet in a different part of the universe, those people would observe celestial movements from a different vantage point, and would thus perceive these movements differently.

See below for examples of astrology used in sentences.

  • Many newspapers have sections devoted to astrology.
  • I didn’t believe in astrology until I experienced my first Saturn return.
  • Astrology is a pseudoscience, and has been cast out of the ranks of respectable academic specialties.
  • Mercury has entered retrograde — pretty neat for sky-watchers but terrible for everyone else. At least that’s what astrology will tell you. –The Washington Post

Trick to Remember the Difference

Define astrology and define astronomyHere is a helpful trick to remember astronomy vs. astrology in your writing.

Astronomy is a natural science concerned with the study of phenomena that occur outside the Earth’s atmosphere. Astrology is a pseudoscience that uses observations of celestial movement to predict a person’s personality and future.

You can remember the difference between these terms by noticing that astrology shares its last two syllables with other pseudosciences, like iridology and reflexology. By grouping these practices together in the pseudoscience category, you can remember the difference between astrology and astronomy.

Summary

Is it astronomy or astrology? Astronomy and astrology are both characterized by the study of celestial objects and processes outside Earth’s atmosphere.

  • Astronomy is a natural science.
  • Astrology has come to be recognized as pseudoscience.

You can remember that astrology is a pseudoscience since it shares the suffix -logy with the pseudosciences iridology and reflexology.

If you can’t remember the difference between these two pursuits, you can use this trick to remember whether you mean astrology or astronomy. If all else fails, you could always refer back to this article for a quick refresher.