Astronomy vs. Astrology is Like Asking Science Vs. Faith – Which is Which?

Astronomy and Astrology sound similar. The “Astro” prefix and scientific-sounding suffix make them both sound like hard sciences, leading to confusion about what each is.

Despite the scientific-sounding names, only one is an actual science. The other is a metaphysical belief system based on faith rather than fact.

Astronomy vs. Astrology

Astronomy is a hard science. The dictionary defines it as a branch of science that deals with celestial objects, outer space, and the vast physical universe. Astronomers use observable facts and the scientific method to discover truths about the cosmos.

Astrology is a belief system. It’s the idea that star alignments have mystical properties that often guide human behavior. Astrologists use the cosmos to predict events, actions, and possibilities based on the belief system, but it’s not rooted in scientific fact.


Astronomy covers the study of everything in the universe. If you’re interested in how the planets orbit the sun, when Halley’s comet will make its next appearance, or how far we are from our nearest galactic neighbor, astronomy is the field for you.

It uses observable facts and mathematics to predict the movement of stellar objects and showcase how the universe works. The field covers everything in the heavens, from black holes to supernovas and planets to whatever makes up space itself.

Astronomers employ the scientific method to develop their theories, which are peer-reviewed and constantly tested for accuracy.

The Scientific Method

The scientific method is a rigorous program designed to eliminate bias from scientists and focus only on truth. Officially developed by Sir Francis Bacon in the middle ages, the idea dates back centuries.

Using the scientific method is straightforward. It consists of five basic steps:

  •       Identify Your Question
  •       Conduct Background Research
  •       Develop a Hypothesis
  •       Test Your Hypothesis (Experiment)
  •       Analyze Data to Draw a Conclusion

Some circles added a sixth step, asking scientists to communicate their results or use them to formulate a new theory, but that sixth step isn’t needed for the basic model.

The method is general because it is usable in every type of science, from astronomy to zoology.

Fields Related to Astronomy

Astronomy is a catch-all for numerous fields related to the cosmos. Astrophysics relates to uncovering the physics of how cosmic objects move, cosmology looks to the stars to discover the universe’s origins, and astrobiology seeks to find life outside Earth.

Physics and mathematics are also essential to astronomy. Sir Isaac Newton invented calculus to help him develop the theory of gravity, the force that ultimately keeps celestial bodies stuck in their rotations.

Famous Astronomers

History abounds with famous astronomers whose work changed humanity. Copernicus proved the Earth orbits the sun, Newton unlocked the secrets of gravity, and Einstein discovered relativity.

These critical works in astronomy helped us understand our place in the universe and helped us get to the moon. Current astronomers are looking for signs of life in the vast expanse of space and unraveling the origins of the universe. If we ever master interstellar travel, it will be because of the astronomers working diligently in their fields to learn how.


Astrology is very different. It’s not a science. Astrologers don’t look to the scientific method to prove their predictions; they feel the truth of it deep in their souls. They use the stars and heavens to guide their lives.

Astrology has no questions to ask, no hypotheses to test, and no experiments to conduct.

However, it offers far more to proponents and practitioners. Astrology can predict compatibility, give us insight into personality traits, and show us a way to navigate the world based on the positions of the heavenly bodies.

Origins of Astrology

Astrology is nearly as old as civilization itself. For as long as humanity could question its origins, we’ve looked to the stars for answers.

Britannica says astrology originated in Mesopotamia, the cradle of human civilization. However, our current view of astrology likely has origins in ancient Greece.

Star Signs and Birth Charts

The most notable aspect of astrology is the zodiac, a system that divides the heavens based on constellations and offers daily horoscopes based on these star signs.

There are 12 zodiac signs in astrology, each related to a specific time of year. Here are the signs:

  •       Aquarius (January 20-February 18)
  •       Pisces (February 19 – March 20)
  •       Aries (March 21-April 19)
  •       Taurus (April 20 – May 20)
  •       Gemini (May 21-June 20)
  •       Cancer (June 21-July 22)
  •       Leo (July 23 – August 22)
  •       Virgo (August 23-September 22)
  •       Libra (September 23-October 22)
  •       Scorpio (October 23-November 21)
  •       Sagittarius (November 22-December 21)
  •       Capricorn (December 22 – January 10)

The zodiac is related to astronomy. It’s guided by the Earth’s rotation around the sun. The signs correspond to when the sun appears in front of a given constellation.

For example, each year, around March 19, the sun moves in front of the constellation Aries, represented by a ram. The sun stays in front of this star system for about 30 days before rising in front of the next constellation, Taurus, represented by the bull.

Remember, this is from the perspective of a person viewing from Earth. The sun appears to be in front of Aries when viewed from the Earth.  The Earth-centric design of astrology highlights its distinction from real science. The earth is not the center of the universe, and any hard science would have to accept that reality when making measurements.

Fields Related to Astrology

Astrology is related to numerous esoteric fields, including divination, tarot reading, numerology, and witchcraft in general. Many proponents of astrology also believe in the healing powers of the universe, humanity’s inner strength, and other new-age-style beliefs.

Astronomy is slightly related in that it uses the orbits of the planets and stars for divination, but that’s where it ends. Astrologists don’t look to science and math to uncover how the cosmos operate; they look to the stars to divine the most profound truths about human nature and to find meaning in their lives

Famous Astrologers

Astrologers don’t receive nearly as much renown as astronomers. As it’s not a science, we don’t study it in school or learn about its origins.

However, some historical figures dabbled in astrology, especially before humanity knew the difference between the two distinct fields.

The Roman mathematician Ptolemy was considered an astrologist, though he also studied what we now understand as astronomy.  World-renowned artist Leonardo Davinci also dabbled in astrology,  using some of the motifs in his most famous works.

Which is Better, Astronomy or Astrology?

Asking whether astronomy is better than astrology is like asking if Christianity is better than Biology. The two systems aren’t in the same ballpark; they aren’t even the same sport. It’s impossible to say which is better.

Scientists may say astronomy is superior, much like biologists might say their field is superior to Christianity. Science is based on observable facts and logic, so it’s better than something based on beliefs and faith.

However, adherents of each spiritual practice will argue in favor of their faith. Science can’t hold a candle to a deeply held belief system. The numbers don’t help us understand our place in the world or explain why people act in specific ways, but Astrology or Christianity can.

In truth, astronomy and astrology are far too different to compare. People can enjoy both fields as long as they understand what each offers.

Astronomy vs. Astrology: The Conclusion

Astronomy is a real science. If we’re going to make laws, promote theories, or build machines capable of traversing space, we must rely on the evidence astronomy offers. 

Astrology is a belief system. There’s nothing wrong with using it to guide your personal life as you see fit, but if you use it to enforce laws or try to build a rocket ship, you’re going to have a bad time. 

Both have their place in the world. The trick is knowing when to use each and not confusing them due to their similar names.