How legitimate is astrology? It’s all in the stars

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Looking up at the sky during the night, one can see trillions and trillions of stars. People tend to look for constellations such as Orion’s Belt and the Big Dipper. People do this by grouping together the stars to see these constellations. However, many believe that within constellations develops a deeper meaning and reasoning. 

Astrology zodiac signs have become increasingly used throughout the years as a unique concept that relates to the time of the year a person was born. People use horoscopic astrology to identify people’s personality traits, claiming that if being born under a certain sign share common traits. Some people truly believe in astrology signs and believe that their signs’ characteristics line up perfectly with their personalities, while others argue dismiss the idea as silliness. 

The term zodiac comes from Babylonian astronomy in the first millennium BC, after the development of a 12-month calendar based on the phases of the moon. The term zodiac acts as the celestial sphere which lines the paths of the planets creating the 12 astrology signs. This being so, astrology horoscopes are based on how the stars and the planets were positioned during the time a person was born. For example, a person born between August 23 and September 22 would have the astrology sign Virgo, the goddess of innocence and purity. But what does this mean? What makes each sign different from the rest?

The Babylonian people defined stars and had separate constellations marked out identifying the constellation movement in the sky.  As the planets and stars moved throughout the year, the Babylonians realized that each constellation occupied a rarity within itself. The sun appeared to be either in front of or in different constellations depending on the months of the year. This realization led to the creation of the different astrology signs depending on what phase the sun was in during the month.

“Sometimes a person can be born on the ‘cusp’ of two zodiac signs; they can identify with multiple traits from different signs,” Jamie Frank of the fanscotian explains. So a person who is born on August 23 might have the same characteristics as both a Virgo and a Leo because their birthday is very close to when the signs meet or when the constellations change. 

Zodiac signs were created by these Babylonians almost 4,000 years ago and are still used as horoscopes today. According to the American Federation of Astrologers, almost 70 million Americans read their horoscopes daily as they believe that the positions of the stars and the planets in the sky affect their lives on a daily basis. 

People tend to mix up astrology with astronomy. Astronomy is the scientific study of space and the universe, while astrology is the overall belief that the positions of the stars and the planets in the sky influence our lives and who we are. Those who challenge astrology say that it doesn’t have a wide enough scientific explanation and correlation to it linking to people’s daily lives. But because of the Barnum Effect, people will believe anything they hear that has a sliver of a chance at relating to their life. 

The Barnum effect is a commonly observed phenomenon in which people offer high ratings of accuracy to their personality descriptions that are supposed to be explicitly personalized to them, which are actually unclear and generic enough to refer to a wide range of people. These are the true facts when debating if astrology is accurate or not, but people still choose to believe in stars as they theorize astrology as a more spiritual phenomenon.

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