The ancient science, or pseudoscience, of astrology is the study of the position and movement of the sun, moon, stars, and planets as influences on one's personality and life. Astrology began in Babylon about 4,000 years ago, and its followers number in the tens of millions today. Worldwide, there may be many more astrologers than scientists.
Present-day champions of astrology try to link ancient conjectures with more recent scientific discoveries. They claim, for example, that the variations in earth's magnetic field caused by the changing patterns of the planets influence the neural circuits of the brain of human embryos. But physicists point out that a pregnant woman in a modern household is subject to far greater magnetic forces from a refrigerator and a television.
Some events in outer space do affect the earth. The gravitational pull of the moon influences the tides, and meteorites sometimes fall to earth, even though science was slow to accept their extraterrestrial origin. Since these seemingly fantastic occurrences have been proven true, believers in astrology (including some scientists) insist that it is unreasonable to reject the idea of celestial influence.
Most scientists, however, argue that even if the planets could influence earthlings, the ancient charts used by astrologers would be irrelevant. The positions of the planets as seen from the Earth on a given date have changed since those charts were drawn up, and three planets have been discovered, Uranus in 1781, Neptune in 1846, and Pluto in 1930 including recent discoveries.