Located near Centura Health in Avon right off of I-70. An innovative natural science learning campus for residents and visitors of the Eagle Valley. Free and open to the public.

318 Walking Mountains Lane, Avon, CO 81620

Located at the top of the Eagle Bahn Gondola on Vail Mountain out of Lionshead Village, Vail. All visitors must have a pass to ride the gondola. Free and open to the public with valid gondola pass.
Nestled along Gore Creek near the Betty Ford Alpine Garden and Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater in Vail Village.
601 Vail Valley Drive, Vail, CO 81657

Curious Nature

World Astronomy Day May 18th: Astrology vs Astronomy

Posted by Walking Mountains Science Center on May 6, 2024 8:15:00 AM
Walking Mountains Science Center

As International Astronomy Day approaches on May 18th, it stands as a beacon calling stargazers of all backgrounds to come together in celebration of the cosmos. This annual event serves as a reminder of the vastness of the universe and as a platform for fostering our collective passion for exploration and discovery.

For millennia, humanity has looked to the stars for guidance, inspiration, and understanding. The zodiac and constellations, with their intricate patterns and stories, have played significant roles in shaping cultures and civilizations throughout history. From ancient navigators using the stars to traverse vast oceans to the poets and philosophers who found meaning and metaphor in the celestial bodies above, our fascination with the cosmos runs deep.

AstrologyvsAstronomy (1)

From ancient navigators using the stars to traverse vast oceans to the poets and philosophers who found meaning and metaphor in the celestial bodies above, our fascination with the cosmos runs deep.

In recent times, the study of astronomy has evolved from a mystical pursuit to a rigorous scientific discipline. Through telescopes, satellites, and space probes, astronomers have unlocked countless mysteries of the universe, revealing the staggering scale and complexity of cosmic phenomena. But astronomy is not just about distant stars and galaxies. It also encompasses the study of our own celestial neighborhood—the solar system. Planets, moons, asteroids, and comets all fall within the purview of astronomers, who tirelessly observe and analyze their movements and properties. These studies not only deepen our knowledge of the solar system but also have practical applications, such as predicting the paths of potentially hazardous asteroids or planning missions to explore other worlds.

Yet, alongside the scientific study of the cosmos, there exists another, more ancient tradition—the practice of astrology. While astronomy seeks to understand the physical nature of celestial bodies, astrology interprets their positions and movements as signs and symbols with personal significance. For many, astrology offers a lens through which to view their lives, providing insight, guidance, and perhaps a sense of connection to something greater than themselves. 

At the heart of modern astrology is the zodiac, which is a region of the sky where twelve constellations pass through in a line throughout the year. This is also a celestial map, because these constellations form the backdrop against which the Sun, Moon, and planets traverse from our earthly point of view. While astronomers and astrologers recognize and utilize this celestial signpost, it is most popularly encountered through astrology in the form of daily horoscopes. Nearly 90 million Americans read their horoscopes daily and 34% of surveyed Americans believed astrology to be “sort of” or “very” scientific. This speaks to a widespread fascination with the idea that the cosmos may hold secrets about our individual destinies. Despite its lack of empirical validation, astrology captivates millions of people around the world, inspiring books, websites, and smartphone apps. 

AstrologyvsAstronomy (2)

Astronomy and astrology both recognize the Zodiac as a celestial map, with twelve constellations forming the backdrop against which the Sun, Moon, and planets traverse throughout the year. 

The placebo effect can amplify astrological influence, shaping behaviors and perspectives. This phenomenon is based on the idea that something has no influence, but can impact someone both physically and psychologically. When someone reads their horoscope, they unconsciously form expectations of the upcoming period and behave accordingly. For example, a positive horoscope can make people perform better at work.
Whether or not one believes in the predictive power of the stars, there is no denying the profound influence that celestial events can have on our lives. From the gravitational pull of the moon affecting ocean tides to the psychological impact of a dazzling meteor shower, the cosmos remind us of our place in a vast and interconnected universe.

Whether we gaze at the stars through a telescope, ponder our horoscopes in the morning paper, or simply marvel at the beauty of a clear night sky, let us unite in awe and wonder, celebrating our boundless curiosity about the cosmos. 

Lucy Trosper is Lead Naturalist at Walking Mountains. She's a proud pisces and often spends her nights wishing on shooting stars.

Topics: Curious Nature

Walking Mountains Science Center

Written by Walking Mountains Science Center

Our mission is to awaken a sense of wonder and inspire environmental stewardship and sustainability through natural science education.