Anonymous asked in Science & MathematicsAstronomy & Space · 1 decade ago

Astrophysics or Astronomy?

I am fascinated by all things cosmos. I love Einsteinian physics and I love studying about space/time.

I might want to major in one of these fields. But I was wondering. If I degree, lets say a masters or a PhD, which field would be contributing to science? Basically, which subject does the scientific community value more and would most likely hire job with a degree?

Astronomy or Astrophysics.

My favorite subject is probably Black Holes and Cosmology.

Which would be better for me?

Also how much do these jobs pay?


4 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Astronomy is a broad, general term for the discipline. I have a PhD in physics, and I work as an astronomer and a cosmologist. Astrophysics is a term used to describe the physical attributes of the Universe. Cosmology is used to describe the study of the whole of the universe, with an emphasis on it's origin and direction. There are other branches to astronomy such as the study of other planets, and many other specialist fields. As a cosmologist, I am equally interested in the work done in particle accelerators such as the LHC at CERN, as hopefully, they will give us new insights into the most fundamental constituents of the Universe, whereas a planetary astronomer is likely to be less interested. Given your areas of interest, I would suggest you major in physics, though math will also become pretty vital. As to your last question, I'm afraid nobody gets rich in this field, unless they are lucky enough to hit upon a best-selling book. In fact, a large part of my time is taken trying to raise funding, as is the case for many of my colleagues worldwide.

    Source(s): I am a professional astronomer and cosmologist.
  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    I have been wondering about the same thing. I would say that Astrophysics is look upon slightly higher than Astronomy because Astrophysicists have to be able to do a lot more physics, but both are important. Astronomy would focus more on the observing and explaining aspect wheres Astrophysics would focus on experimental or theoretical explanations for what we see or think happens in the universe. Most jobs for either will be in the collegiate setting and there you can expect to get a professor's pay which isn't amazing. You will probably be involved in research and you have to ask yourself if you want to be working with the numbers (theoretical astrophysics) the accelerators and other devices (experimental astrophysics) or with the telescopes (observational astronomy). You are going to need a PhD no matter what though.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    All professional astronomers, and some of the amateurs, are astrophysicists as well. An astrophysicist is a theoretical astronomer, which is a lot like a theoretical physicist. I'd say major in astronomy for your BS, in physics for your MS, and astrophysics for your Ph.D.

  • 4 years ago

    There incredibly isn't any significant distinction between expert astronomers and expert astrophysicists. incredibly all astronomy nowdays is done in the context of physics.

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