What's the difference between astronomy and astrophysics? (Intermediate)

Are they the same thing? If not, which should I choose to study?

Technically speaking, astronomy is the science of measuring the positions and characteristics of heavenly bodies, and astrophysics is the application of physics to understand astronomy. However, nowadays, the two terms are more or less interchangeable since all astronomers use physics to understand their findings.

This answer was last updated on June 18, 2015.

About the Author

Britt Scharringhausen

Britt studies the rings of Saturn. She got her PhD from Cornell in 2006 and is now a Professor at Beloit College in Wisconson.

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