What is the difference between Astrophysics and Astronomy?

What is the difference between Astronomy and Astrophysics?
I’m so interested in this kind of area and I want to know which course is more for me.
I got the impression that Astrophysics is much more “mathsy” but I’m not overly sure of which bits are different….

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6 Responses to “What is the difference between Astrophysics and Astronomy?”

  1. Dallas said:

    astronomy is the study of the universe. astrophysics is the study of how the universe works, and the laws that take place thereof.

  2. Luis said:

    Astrophysics (Greek: Astro – meaning “star”, and Greek: physis – φύσις – meaning “nature”) is the branch of astronomy that deals with the physics of the universe, including the physical properties (luminosity, density, temperature, and chemical composition) of celestial objects such as galaxies, stars, planets, exoplanets, and the interstellar medium, as well as their interactions. The study of cosmology addresses questions of astrophysics at scales much larger than the size of particular gravitationally-bound objects in the universe.

    Because astrophysics is a very broad subject, astrophysicists typically apply many disciplines of physics, including mechanics, electromagnetism, statistical mechanics, thermodynamics, quantum mechanics, relativity, nuclear and particle physics, and atomic and molecular physics. In practice, modern astronomical research involves a substantial amount of physics. The name of a university’s department (“astrophysics” or “astronomy”) often has to do more with the department’s history than with the contents of the programs. Astrophysics can be studied at the bachelors, masters, and Ph.D. levels in aerospace engineering, physics, or astronomy departments at many universities.
    Astronomy is a natural science that deals with the study of celestial objects (such as stars, planets, comets, nebulae, star clusters and galaxies) and phenomena that originate outside the Earth’s atmosphere (such as the cosmic background radiation). It is concerned with the evolution, physics, chemistry, meteorology, and motion of celestial objects, as well as the formation and development of the universe.

    Astronomy is one of the oldest sciences. Prehistoric cultures left behind astronomical artifacts such as the Egyptian monuments and Stonehenge, and early civilizations such as the Babylonians, Greeks, Chinese, and Indians performed methodical observations of the night sky. However, the invention of the telescope was required before astronomy was able to develop into a modern science. Historically, astronomy has included disciplines as diverse as astrometry, celestial navigation, observational astronomy, the making of calendars, and even astrology, but professional astronomy is nowadays often considered to be synonymous with astrophysics.

    During the 20th century, the field of professional astronomy split into observational and theoretical branches. Observational astronomy is focused on acquiring data from observations of celestial objects, which is then analyzed using basic principles of physics. Theoretical astronomy is oriented towards the development of computer or analytical models to describe astronomical objects and phenomena. The two fields complement each other, with theoretical astronomy seeking to explain the observational results, and observations being used to confirm theoretical results.

    Amateur astronomers have contributed to many important astronomical discoveries, and astronomy is one of the few sciences where amateurs can still play an active role, especially in the discovery and observation of transient phenomena.

    Ancient astronomy is not to be confused with astrology, the belief system which claims that human affairs are correlated with the positions of celestial objects. Although the two fields share a common origin and a part of their methods (namely, the use of ephemerides), they are distinct.

  3. eri said:

    Astronomy is still a sub-field of physics, so you’d need to take physics and math to study it. There’s no big distinction between astronomy and astrophysics anymore – astronomers used to use observe things and publish their observations, but that’s not as accepted anymore – they now use physics to explain what they’re looking at. Most astronomers got degrees in physics, and that’s a good thing for them.

  4. John R said:

    Astronomy is the study of the stars planets and the universe, now you figure out what the others do, that way you are using your brain for a change, just think you could find out something with out having to ask some one else for a change.

  5. adita said:

    i love this. i also love astrophysics.

  6. Lamar Holahan said:

    That is the appropriate blog for anybody who needs to search out out about this topic. You notice so much its nearly exhausting to argue with you (not that I really would need…HaHa). You positively put a new spin on a subject thats been written about for years. Nice stuff, just nice!


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