We've had the tag for some time now, and it's been use a lot (310 questions as of today). Recently, we got a new tag: (4 questions). I've answered some questions in both tags, and I've noticed that there doesn't seem to be much difference in how the tags are used - in other words, it seems like is just being used the same way is.

I think we have two options:

  1. Synonymize the two (not my preference).
  2. Clarify their meaning, and make sure they're used appropriately.

My definition of astrophysics is the science of applying the laws of physics to astronomical problems. For instance, I'd say that studying the orbits of stars is astronomy; studying the processes of nucleosynthesis inside them is astrophysics. Ideally, we could apply a similar definition to the tag, but the dividing line between the two terms is kind of fuzzy.

How should we fix the confusion between the tags?


Here's a proposal as a wiki:

  • Astronomy: for questions related to the study of planets, moons and stars and their motion on the sky.

  • Astrophysics: for questions regarding orbital mechanics, stellar evolution, cosmology and the behavior of bodies in space.

  • $\begingroup$ I feel this can be better defined. Should I make this answer wiki? $\endgroup$ – Renan Jul 31 '18 at 17:43
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ We already have 293 questions tagged orbital-mechanics and 6 questions tagged orbits (which itself looks like a synonym of orbital-mechanics). Add to that the 208 questions tagged stars. $\endgroup$ – a CVn Aug 1 '18 at 9:02
  • $\begingroup$ I'd say remove "observation" from the first definition - maybe change it to "study"? I do know some theoretical astronomers. :-) I'd also be wary of including cosmology in astrophysics - and as @Michael noted, we do have separate tags for orbital mechanics and stars, although stars is often used on conjunction with astronomy. $\endgroup$ – HDE 226868 Aug 1 '18 at 14:27
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    $\begingroup$ Since nobody has objected, I've made slight modifications to these and applied them to the excerpts. $\endgroup$ – HDE 226868 Aug 8 '18 at 13:36

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