Astronomy vs astrology

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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. Here is a helpful trick to remember astronomy vs. 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. Is it astronomy or astrology? You can remember that astrology is a pseudoscience since it shares the suffix -logy with the pseudosciences iridology and reflexology.


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For a graphical illustration of the sun's different position in the sky, see this comparison of the Sun's position over the last years. For a more information and a fuller explanation, see What's Your Sign? Sun Signs: Astrolonomical vs. In the late seventeenth century, the generation of astronomers beginning with Isaac Newton no longer believed in or practised astrology, although Newton, an astronomical autodidact, learnt his astronomy from the books of Vincent Wing and Thomas Streete, both of whom were practising astrologers.

So what led to the separation of our scientific Siamese twins?

Astrology vs Astronomy: What's the Difference? | Sky & Telescope

Robert Westman famously pointed out that there were only ten true Copernicans between the year of the publication of De Revolutionibus by Copernicus and It should, however, be noted that all ten were practising astrologers. In fact, horoscopes are calculated according to the position of the planets along the ecliptic, the apparent yearly path of the sun through the heavens. And these remain the same whether your astronomical system is geocentric or heliocentric.


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  • What led to the separation of astronomy and astrology was the change in the philosophical basis of scientific knowledge in the seventeenth century. This says that which occurs in the heavens is mirrored here on earth. There is however a small coda to the story of astrology in western science.

    Although they believed in astrology, the Renaissance astronomers and mathematicians were well aware of the very shaky empirical foundations on which astrology stood and tried to improve those foundations. Astrology is not just about natal horoscopes but has several different branches, one of which was astro-meteorology. It seemed logical that since weather came from the heavens it must also be controlled by the heavens. During the Renaissance, several astronomer-astrologers began keeping accurate detailed weather diaries in which they recorded both the weather and the daily horoscope to try and determine the controlling pattern.

    Another attempt to provide an empirical base for astrology was to create collections of biographies of prominent people and compare to real life biographies with the predicted astrological ones. Again, like the efforts in meteorology, these efforts proved more detrimental than supportive to astrology.

    However, these biographical efforts were one of the steppingstones in the emergence of modern history, which took place during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.

    Also, these biographical collections are an important contemporary source for modern historians researching the period. Although it ceased to be regarded as a science or as an academic discipline in the late seventeenth century, astrology refuses to die and large numbers of often well educated and intelligent people continue to believe that the course of their lives are influenced or determined by the course of the planets along the ecliptic. I personally know at least three respected, academic historians of astrology, who are also practising astrologers.

    I also know a fourth, a successful university historian of science, who, whilst not really admitting to believing in astrology, was pleased to have one of the three cast and interpret her horoscope.

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    What's the difference between astronomy and astrology?

    Disclaimer: If you buy any of the books using the provided weblinks below, this will help us run Forbidden Histories as your purchase will yield a small commission, at no extra cost for you. Azzolini, Monica. Barton, Tamsyn. Ancient Astrology. A History of Western Astrology. Volume I.


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      The Medieval and Modern Worlds. Heilbron, John L. Kusukawa, Sachiko, and Liba Taub. The Starry Messenger. North, John. Tester, Jim. Thorndike, Lynn. A History of Magic and Experimental Science. New York: Macmillan vols. Westman, Robert S.

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