By Suzannah Young
NASA wants you to know that astrology is not real, and you should stop reading your horoscope.
“Astronomy is the scientific study of everything in outer space,” stated Constellations and the Calendar, a 2020 article published by NASA. “Astrology is not science.”
In the article, NASA explains that throughout history, people have looked at the stars to make sense of the earth and its movements via constellations and other patterns that can be seen by making observations about changes in the sky.
Barry University professor of physics, Maurizio Giannotti, further explains, “Astronomy is the science that studies celestial objects in the universe. This is a science and, as such, is based on experimental evidence and observations and it is falsifiable.”
NASA insists that the positions of celestial bodies have absolutely no effect on human behavior or existence.
However, despite the lack of scientific backing, astrology remains a popular and strongly defended ideology.
“I believe in astrology 100%,” said Michelle Lozada, a junior majoring in Forensic Psychology. “Every time I meet someone, their astrological sign always matches their personality. Sometimes, I can even guess a person’s [zodiac] sign right away.”
An explanation of astrology by Kepler College defines the subject as “the study of the meaningful correlation between celestial objects and earthly events.”
The key word here is “meaningful.” Astrology deals with meaning, while astronomy focuses on measurement.
“Astrology to me is someone’s basic blueprint,” said photography major Iliana Pulgar. “It’s not an exact navigational map, but an outline to someone’s personality or even life path.”
Some people use astrology to better understand not only their own habits, but also the characteristics of people around them.
“[Astrology] has to do with the date and timing of your birth, and how that affects the way you live, such as your emotions and personality,” said Lozada. “I use it to understand the way people act and react to things.”
Linda Goodman, author of “Sun Signs,” a book that boosted the New Age movement and advanced modern astrology, explains that “everyone can profit from a study of Sun signs, and the knowledge can make us more tolerant of one another.”
Sun signs - more commonly known as zodiacs - are based on 12 different constellations, one of which can be assigned to a person based on the alignment of celestial bodies on their birthdate.
The zodiac is also used in astronomy, to help understand and explain how the sun, earth, and stars move in relation to one another. Although both sciences use zodiacs to categorize constellations, the difference lies in the point of view; astronomers study things from the stars’ point of view, while astrologers maintain a rather earthly perspective according to “Astrology: An Introduction” published by Kepler College.
For example, one astronomical notion, the cosmological principle, states that the universe does not actually have a center, and it looks the same from any viewpoint, as explained by Giannotti.
This principle is also referred to as the idea of uniform universe and includes two parts. The first part states that the universe is homogenous, meaning it can be observed/evaluated from any point of view (sun, moon, stars, etc). The second part states that the universe is isotropic, meaning that when this angle of observation changes, the appearance of the universe will not change.
“In modern Astronomy, the study of the evolution of stars and galaxies requires notions of nuclear physics, classical and quantum mechanics, and general relativity,” Giannotti said. “Observing and studying the universe is a way to test our understanding of all these aspects of physics.”
In other words, human fascination with the stars as well as the development of other sciences in conjunction with the study of celestial objects, has only served to further astronomical understanding.
Meanwhile, astrologists use the constellations to associate birthdates with human behaviors by creating charts, houses, and maps to explain the connection between the stars and earthly phenomena.
Astrological houses are an extended grouping based on the position of the planets at a given time, and are used to constitute different areas of one’s life, such as relationship or financial status. In addition, houses show development of an individual both in terms of the self and within society (Kepler College).
“Once you understand how deeply ingrained certain attitudes are in people’s natures, you’ll become more sympathetic toward their behavior,” Goodman said in ‘Sun Signs.’.
Similarly, Pulgar expresses how she goes to astrological charts and horoscopes for explanation.
“If I want to know why I started to think a certain way, why someone else started to move a different way in a new circumstance, or why events or plans went the way they did, then I’ll search to see what was in the stars,” Pulgar said.
Even as an adamant believer in the astrological world, Pulgar expresses that not all readings are accurate, and it is important to make sure you have a reliable source before taking any prediction too seriously.
“If it’s a trusted source I’ve personally experienced to be accurate before - then I can believe [the reading],” Pulgar said. “But if it’s a new source, I am more skeptical and take it lightly.”
In addition, Pulgar says when something significant happens in her life, she can “connect the dots” between her horoscope predictions and reality.
In the end, neither astronomers nor astrologers can deny the connection that exists between the earth and the stars.
“I find it fascinating that most elements are created in stars,” Giannotti said. “We are truly made of stellar dust.”