Difference between astrological and astronomical signs

Definitions of Astronomy Vs. Astrology

However, a phenomenon called precession has altered the position of the constellations we see today and has resulted in a shift of the zodiac constellations. The first day of spring in the Northern Hemisphere was once marked by the zero point of the Zodiac. Astronomers call this the vernal equinox and it occurs as the ecliptic and celestial equator intersect on approximately March Around B. Unbeknownst to the ancient astrologers, Earth continually wobbles around its axis in a 25,year cycle.

This wobble — called precession — is caused by the gravitational attraction of the moon on Earth's equatorial bulge.

Astrological sign - Wikipedia

Over the past two-and-a-half millennia, this wobble has caused the intersection point between the celestial equator and the ecliptic to move west along the ecliptic by 36 degrees, or almost exactly one-tenth of the way around, to the border of Pisces and Aquarius. This means that the signs have slipped one-tenth — or almost one whole month — of the way around the sky to the west, relative to the stars beyond.

For instance, those born between March 21 and April 19 consider themselves to be Aries. Today, the sun is no longer within the constellation of Aries during much of that period. From March 11 to April 18, the sun is actually in the constellation of Pisces! The table below lists the dates when the sun is actually within the astronomical constellations of the Zodiac, according to modern constellation boundaries and corrected for precession these dates can vary a day from year to year.

You will most likely find that once precession is taken into account, your Zodiac sign is different. And if you were born between Nov. The ecliptic passes through the constellation of Ophiuchus after Scorpius. Check out your "real" zodiac sign, based on the sun's current path, and compare it to the date still used by astrologers in parentheses :. Capricorn — Jan. Live Science.


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Ever read your horoscope? You might be someone who thinks astrology is true science , or perhaps you believe astronomy is the only thing that's real. There are certainly some similarities between the two subjects, especially how similar the spellings are and the fact that the both have to do with what's going on in the sky.

But if you think the study of horoscopes, zodiac signs, and astrology are just another kind of science, I'm sorry to be the one to tell you, but you're wrong. The most basic difference between astronomy and astrology is that they mean two entirely different things. Astronomy is a natural science involving the study of the sun, moon, stars, planets, and other celestial or extraterrestrial objects and phenomena.

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People who study astronomy astronomers study space with research and observation based on the scientific method. Astrology is not a science , but rather a type of divination — the practice of seeking knowledge of the future or the unknown by supernatural means — that happens to involve the forecasting or prediction of events through the observation and interpretation of many of those celestial bodies.

Although it was considered part of mainstream science until the late s, astrology is no longer considered scientifically reliable. Astrology is more akin to a system of beliefs rather than anything provable by the scientific method. People who study astrology astrologists attempt to learn about how the way celestial bodies namely the planets and the stars moving affects people and events on earth.


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In ancient society, astrology was one of the original spiritual belief systems, as many people grew to believe that gods lived amongst the stars. In ancient China and India, intricate systems were developed to explain the positioning of the stars. In the West, the practice originated in Mesopotamia around BC , and spread throughout ancient Greece following the conquest of Asia by Alexander the Great.

Between to BC, the Greeks began transitioning away from religious astrology and towards more of a theoretical science that was primarily concerned with discovering the structure of the universe.

But astrology was still a common feature in the spiritual lives of people. As the intellectual elite became more and more concerned with evidence and scientific research, astrology was reduced to a mere superstition. People most likely get astronomy and astrology confused because they both study the same things, i.

Astrology vs. Astronomy: What’s the Difference?

They also both use similar tools, namely, star charts or star maps. Below is a celestial map by the Dutch cartographer Frederik de Wit that dates back to By Frederik de Wit - Transferred from en.

Astronomy Vs Astrology: 7 Common Questions Answered

Scanned by Janke, Public Domain. The easiest way is to remember that one is scientific and provable astronomy , and the other is a belief astrology. Apart from the fact that they both study the objects in the sky, astronomy and astrology do share a common history. Since ancient times, societies have looked to the sky to determine time and seasons.

Historically, this was used to plant and harvest crops.


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  • Thus, studies about celestial bodies became a means of predicting the recurrence of events. Ancient astrologists and astronomists used tools like sundials , such as the Indian Nadivalaya Yantra, pictured above, to track solar movements.

    Sorry horoscope fans: Your 'star sign' doesn't match your zodiac constellation

    Below is a picture of the world oldest sundial c. Though we now have more scientific evidence that separates astrology and astronomy, they serve a similar purpose in tracking events and changes within our solar system, and both seek to improve our understanding of the universe. As mentioned earlier, astronomy is the scientific study of astrological objects, while astrology is more of a theoretical study of how these objects relate to the human experience.