Every night before she went to sleep Sibongile would look up to the stars and say goodbye to the moon. She believed that she was a moon child. There was a connection there that she couldn’t explain but somehow, she felt like the moon was always calling to her. Sibongile believed in astrology; to her the zodiac made sense and her star sign, Cancer, was exactly who she was as a person. She decided to research deeper.

People tend to confuse astrology and astronomy, so let’s break them down:

What is astrology?

There are many definitions of what astrology is but they all speak the same thing. According to the Encyclopaedia Britannica, astrology is the forecasting of earthly and human events through the observation and interpretation of fixed stars like the sun, the moon, and the planets. The signs are determined through a birth chart or natal chart. According to Understanding Science at the University of California, Berkeley, this chart uses scientific knowledge about heavenly bodies, as well as scientific sounding tools, like star charts. It generates expectations about future events and people’s personalities. The birth chart is calculated using the date and exact time and place of birth.

What is astronomy?

NASA describes astronomy as the study of the planets and the stars using mathematics and physics to determine the origin of the universe. Astronomy seeks answers about how the world started and why it is the way it is. It is because of astronomy that we know more about the moon and the sun and why we understand that humans can’t breathe in space. It’s the astronomers’ way of trying to bring simple answers that people can understand through science.

Astronomy vs astrology

NASA says that for centuries, astrology was considered the same thing as astronomy. 17th-century astronomer Johannes Kepler, who studied the motion of the planets, was at the time considered an astrologer. That changed around the beginning of the Enlightenment period in the late 17th century.

The moment when astronomy became known as a science instead of astrology was when Sir Isaac Newton turned the sky into a calculator. But astrology believers have grown in recent years; its popularity is overwhelming. According to Time Magazine, a 2014 National Science Foundation poll found more than half of millennials believe astrology is a science.

Astronomer Sten Odenwald, the director of Citizen Science at the NASA Space Science Education Consortium, believes that the reason people keep turning to the sky is because of a “psychological phenomenon” which he calls the human tendency for “self-selection” – the search for interpretations that match what we already hope to be true.

A 13th star sign

According to NASA, the Babylonians (they lived over 3 000 years ago) invented the 12 signs of the Zodiac. They were, however, aware of a13th star called Ophiuchus, which is the biggest star in the Zodiac. For reasons unknown they decided to leave it out of the Zodiac calendar. Recently, NASA announced this development and it sent the astrology world into chaos with people realising that their star sign had changed.

It is also important to highlight that there are as many as 21 star signs that didn’t make it into the Zodiac calendar that astrologers don’t talk about.

The addition of a 13th star sign could cause havoc as many people swear by the Zodiac in their lives. It seems, however, that most people are sticking with the 12 star signs as usual.

What are the 12 star signs?

Aries: March 21-April 19
Taurus: April 20 to May 20
Gemini: May 21 to June 20
Cancer: June 21 to July 22
Leo: July 23 to Aug 22
Virgo: August 23 to September 22
Libra: September 23 to October 22
Scorpio: October 23 to November 21
Sagittarius: November 22 to December 21
Capricorn: December 22 to January 19
Aquarius: January 20 to February 18
Pisces: February 19 to March 20

These Western zodiac signs were named after constellations and matched with dates based on the relationship between their placement in the sky and the sun. Your birth chart reflects your energy, habits, needs, patterns, communication style, desires, memories, feelings, thoughts, challenges, and dreams. It’s a wonderful tool for understanding yourself and others.

However, no one can really dictate your life and your future; they are both in your hands. No star can tell you who you are because you are in control of your own path in life. Astrology gives answers and validation to many people who have questions but ultimately, you control your destiny.

Learn about why the sky is blue here


Tell us: Do you believe in the star signs? Why?