• Question: How does the job of an astrophysicist differ to one of an astromer?

    Asked by Astro on 26 Mar 2020.
    • Photo: Ry Cutter

      Ry Cutter answered on 23 Mar 2020:


      That’s a brilliant question!

      This answer may be slightly different depending on who you ask as well. But the basic way to llok at it.

      Astronomy:
      This is the observation of the universe beyond Earth’s atmosphere. Here, we’re using instruments to look at light (or gravitational-waves!) emitted from stars and planets.

      Astrophysics:
      This is a sub-branch of astronomy. Astrophysics is when we use these incoming signals to make predictions about the behaviour and characteristics of the objects we’re looking at.

      So if you’re using a telescope to look at the stars you’re an astronomer, and if you’re using that data to understand what is happening to those stars you’re an astrophysicist!

      The distinction between the two is kind of blurred in modern science as you need to be familiar with both to do research. I personally say I’m an astronomer/astrophysicist interchangeably as what I do straddles the line of observation and theory.

      Great question!

      Ry 🙂

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