Like many astronomers, I found myself (yet again) in an uncomfortable position last weekend. A stranger, upon learning I was an astronomer, said, "Oh, I'm a Gemini, what are you?" How many more times can I smile sweetly back, with a laugh, and say: "I'm not an astrologer, that's not what I do, I'm an astronomer."?
Look at the statistics and you'll see that there are more people now than ever before who read their star signs in the daily news. We live in a time that is more scientifically aware than any other period in history and yet people still believe the stars and planets can determine their fate.
Interestingly, astronomy and astrology share the same origins; in fact it's accurate to say that astrology came first. Ancient civilizations tried to find sense in the happenings in the sky and attribute them to their lives.
SLIDE SHOW: What Will the Constellations Look Like in 50,000 Years?
We soon learned that perhaps there was no mystical force determining our future and the two subjects split into astronomy (the branch of physics that studies celestial bodies and the Universe as a whole) and astrology (a pseudoscience claiming divination by the positions of the planets, sun and moon).