Astronomy Vs Astrology

Updated: Feb 2

This is my first blog post and I thought I should clear up the terminology first. As some of you reading this knows there's a huge difference between these two words! But for those who aren't quite sure about what is the distinction, let's find it out!

Being an astrophysicist, many people ask me things like 'What's your opinion on numerology?', 'Do you have faith in astrology', 'What do you think about palmistry?. A man once said, he didn't believe in palmistry but thought of it as an expression for believing in the power of hard work. His optimism aside, he confused astronomy for astrology. Both the words contain - 'astro', of course, both include observations from out-of-earth objects. But they are at extreme ends. One does calculations from the planets of our solar system to predict one's life (which means as you consider another solar system, apparently your life will change), while the other uses these observations to study basics about the universe and all the physical laws it obeys. So astronomy can't tell you who you going to end up marrying, but astronomy has lots of anecdotes that can help you make someone fall in love.

Here's one example from The Big Bang Theory:

"Raj Koothrappali: Penny, two of the brightest stars in the night sky are Altair and Vega. And it is said they were deeply in love, but forever separated by the celestial river of the Milky Way.

Penny: Oh, that's sad.

Raj Koothrappali: It is. But once a year on the seventh day of the seventh month, Vega cries so hard that all the magpies of the world fly up and create a bridge with their wings so the two lovers can be together for a single night of passion." And that's how it's done! One thing astrology does is, make the process of coping up with things a little easier. Logically, people with stable life never worry about the future or go to an astrologer. Only anxious people try to seek some sort of answers or validation in their life. This psychology is used against them to give them guidance about life. To make them strong and better prepared for the future.

Now, let me briefly introduce you to astronomy.

Here are two definitions of the term astronomy -

"Astronomy is the study of the sun, moon, stars, planets, comets, gas, galaxies, gas, dust and other non-Earthly bodies and phenomena" -,

"Astronomy is a natural science that studies celestial objects and phenomena." -

In short, it covers everything that isn't earth. It is mainly divided into two branches - observational and theoretical. It has a bunch of sub-branches and sub-fields. I will talk about it in the coming articles.

Look at this beauty! This is what's inside you! You are billions of years old stardust functioning as an earthling. This connection with the universe is divine, YOU ARE THE UNIVERSE!

Homo-Sapiens being the most cognitively developed species, questioned the patterns they saw above for years. They started keeping track of eclipses, the motion of planets, phases of the moon, etc. These observations were done by people all over the globe - Babylonians, Greeks, Indians, Egyptians, Chinese, Maya, and many ancient indigenous peoples of the Americas. As time passed, detailed observations were made and the field emerged as a very extensive science. Now, the field has emerged to professional astronomy and the term is often used interchangeably as astrophysics.

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