What is Astrophysicist: Definition and 74 Discussions

Astrophysics is a science that employs the methods and principles of physics in the study of astronomical objects and phenomena. Among the subjects studied are the Sun, other stars, galaxies, extrasolar planets, the interstellar medium and the cosmic microwave background. Emissions from these objects are examined across all parts of the electromagnetic spectrum, and the properties examined include luminosity, density, temperature, and chemical composition. Because astrophysics is a very broad subject, astrophysicists apply concepts and methods from many disciplines of physics, including classical mechanics, electromagnetism, statistical mechanics, thermodynamics, quantum mechanics, relativity, nuclear and particle physics, and atomic and molecular physics.
In practice, modern astronomical research often involves a substantial amount of work in the realms of theoretical and observational physics. Some areas of study for astrophysicists include their attempts to determine the properties of dark matter, dark energy, black holes, and other celestial bodies; and the origin and ultimate fate of the universe. Topics also studied by theoretical astrophysicists include Solar System formation and evolution; stellar dynamics and evolution; galaxy formation and evolution; magnetohydrodynamics; large-scale structure of matter in the universe; origin of cosmic rays; general relativity, special relativity, quantum and physical cosmology, including string cosmology and astroparticle physics.

View More On Wikipedia.org
  1. jack action

    News Death of astrophysicist Hubert Reeves at 91

    We lost a great man today - originally from my part of the World - with the death of astrophysicist Hubert Reeves at 91.
  2. gleem

    Sir Brian Harold: Queen's Guitarist & Astrophysicist Honored with Knighthood

    Brian May lead guitarist and co-founder of Queen who earned a Ph.D. in astrophysics was knighted for his services to music and charity (animal welfare). https://americansongwriter.com/queens-brian-may-becomes-sir-brian-harold-with-knighthood-honor/
  3. sully21

    Courses What is it like to work as an Astrophysicist or an Aerospace Engineer?

    Hi all. I'm currently an aerospace engineering undergraduate student in my second year, but I'm going through a very confusing process of second guessings and would greatly appreciate advice from older people who work in the Aerospace or in the Physics/Astronomy fields to help me compare the...
  4. angela6884

    Courses Can I go to grad school to be an astrophysicist with a minor in astronomy?

    Hello! I'm a senior in high school and I plan on getting a bachelors in computer engineering. I want to minor is astronomy (or double major although I heard engineering is very demanding so I would prefer to minor astronomy). When I complete the four years, and if I realize that I want to be an...
  5. Luke Coughlin

    Other Undergrad searching for advice in an academic career

    I dream of getting a PhD someday and focussing on astrophysics. I would want to work near the west coast so I could take advantage of their clear night sky. I'm only about 45 credits into my undergrad and would appreciate any tips I could implement while moving forward in this career. Also, what...
  6. riley4190

    Is it possible to be both an astronaut and astrophysicist?

    If someone earns phD in astrophysics and then he/she is selected to be an astronaut, is it possible that this person will have a REALLY successful career in astrophysics? I've read so many times that after coming back to Earth astronauts are usually mentors and educators. So, my question is: is...
  7. L

    Maple Computational Hohmann Transfer on MapleSoft

    Hi, I am trying to recreate an Interplanetary Hohmann transfer orbit from Earth to Mars similar to image A below (the red line). However, Earths orbit is not circular, It is more of an elliptical orbit rather than circular. I was able to successfully plot the orbits of both Earth and Mars...
  8. Greg Bernhardt

    Insights Interview with Astrophysicist: Adam Becker - Comments

    Greg Bernhardt submitted a new PF Insights post Interview with Astrophysicist: Adam Becker Continue reading the Original PF Insights Post.
  9. ScienceGuy42

    Engineering Does an astrophysicist (PhD or post-doc) need computer engineering?

    Does an astrophysicist in research areas such as cosmic structure and evolution, galactic archaeology, and/or black hole phenomena require extensive skills (i.e. undergraduate degree) in computer systems engineering/computer engineering? The idea is to do a combined degree with computer...
  10. Sullivan Stockwell

    Physics Astronomer and Astrophysicist Employment

    Not sure if this is the right place, but I don’t know where else to post it. Astronomers and astrophysicists seem to be pretty similar these days. By first obtaining a degree in physics related to these careers, are these career paths almost interchangeable? (Considering that astronomers might...
  11. Mlesnita Daniel

    B What do I need to become an Astrophysicist?

    Hi! I just started high school and have developed a passion for cosmology and astrophysics. I would like to know if I really need to be very good at physics and mathematics (and if there is more that I need to be good at) and where do i find a job (spaces like N.A.S.A., SpaceX etc). Thanks for help!
  12. henry wang

    What would be a good birthday gift for an astrophysicist?

    My friend is a third year Astrophysicist doing undergrad.
  13. Erenjaeger

    I Exploring Dark Matter Theories: A Comprehensive Overview

    Im doing a group presentation in one of my astrophysics papers this semester, and my part of the presentation is to research and outline the various theories for what dark matter could be. Does anyone on the pf know of any sites they may think will be helpful in my research, or any ideas on...
  14. G

    B How is a Vaccum mathmatically described?

    Anyone know what books and astrophysicist has this knowledge? Thank you, Greg
  15. Kenneth DeMaio

    Where to start? I want to be an astrophysicist....

    I want to be an astrophysicist, I'm only a sophomore in Hs. What books would you recommend to getting more into physics and astronomy to have a head start?
  16. SpaceIsCool

    What jobs are available to an Astrophysics Student?

    Hello, I am a 19 year old female who just graduated from a community college with an Associate in Science degree. I chose to major in physics and am planning on continuing my degree this Fall at a University. My issue is that I want to go into the Astrophysics field, but I am greatly worried...
  17. M

    Solving Redshift Confusion Homework Problem

    Homework Statement I encountred a question that says : Assume that gravitational interactions between galaxies in groups lead to random galaxy velocities of 300 km/s At what distance would the redshift predicted by Hubble's law dominate over that produced by individual velocities? and what is...
  18. S

    Physics Realistic expectations to become an astrophysicist

    Hi I'm 27 years old, and planning to return to university as a mature student to study physics/astrophysics as major. I have gone through websites, reading materials, articles, and I have not found any satisfactory answers for the job descriptions of an astrophysicist. So what to expect to be...
  19. A

    Programs Should I become an Astrophysicist or Experimental Physicist?

    I am unsure about what branch of physics I should get into. I am very interested in astronomy, but I also think I would enjoy working with lasers and designing experiments. What field would you say is more interesting? Also, pay is very important for me. If I can't afford to go to school and...
  20. A

    Admissions How can I become an astrophysicist?

    Hi, I'm currently in the midst of completing my IGCSEs. I'm 19, and get homeschooled. I dropped out of regular schooling 4 years ago because I was not sure what I wanted to do ahead. I'm now very certain as to what I want to achieve. The issue is I'm currently studying only 3 subjects; physics...
  21. Arceus74

    Physics What should I do to enter a top tier college for a Masters in Astrophysics?

    Hello Guys, I know that all of you here are reputed scientists so any advice would be great. I'm Abishek from India and currently doing my BE mech engineering 2nd year.My cgpa till now is 8.2 and i have a record of 90%(9-12 grade).I also have two diplomas in Spectroscopy and...
  22. A

    Astrophysics: what are the typical career options

    Hi In order to not let my hobby define my profession, I am trying to see what are the future career prospects for studying astrophysics. My academic track record so far is very good, and I also possesses offers for engineering courses in highly ranked universities (Imperial College, Univ...
  23. Mayank Kumar

    Physics I want to pursue my dream of becoming an astrophysicist

    I live in India If i crack IIT-JEE witch field should i choose or choose IIT or not??
  24. S

    What are the job prospects for Astronomers in the next 10-15 years?

    Hello all! I am currently a freshman (just finished my first semester) and I need to choose a career path. I have had a burning love and passion for Astronomy/Astrophysics from a very young age but I hear that the job market for Astro Ph.D's is complete and utter dang (pardon my French). I grew...
  25. U

    Physics Astrophysicist turned video game programmer?

    Hi all, I'm at a bit of a crossroads - I'm in a direct PhD program (in Astrophysics) right now, with the option of walking away with my Master's in September. In all of my research projects I've focused heavily on simulations (I know Python and Fortran, but not anything from the C family...
  26. L

    Astrophysicists and their use of physics in their studies?

    I am writing a paragraph on astrophysicists. I want to incorporate a connection between the physics that we are learning and an astrophysicist's use of the same principles in their studies. Unfortunately, there is not much information about this on the internet. What I have found is that...
  27. O

    Schools Which are the best American universities for astronomy?

    Hello. I'm a French student and I'm planning to go to the United States for a graduate program in astronomy. When I will arrive in the U.S. I will begin by the first year of graduate. Then I will pursue with a Ph.D. and some postdoctoral research. I would like to know which are the best...
  28. Space Dragon

    Want to become a Astrophysicist

    Hello Guys, Im a Indian pursuing BE Mechanical course.I have a 9.1 average physics grade from my 2 semesters and currently in my 3rd sem.My maths grades are also in the range of 9. I want to undergo a Masters degree in astrophysics in US.Can u recommend me a good college and the possibilities of...
  29. brennabruce

    Brenna Bruce: Can I Become an Astrophysicist?

    Hello! My name is Brenna Bruce and I am 15 years old. This past year I have discovered my thirst for knowledge about the universe. How it works and what makes it work (to my understanding is explained by mostly physics) are concepts I want to be able to grasp. My question for anyone reading this...
  30. Astronaut

    Astrophysicist vs aerospace engineer

    Hi.. Please guide me what to do.. I am from India where Astrophysicists are not much neither they have importance. 70% of them are jobless. I want to explore how space works and all things related. But I belong to a middle class family and fear that if i became jobless I will suffer with my...
  31. A

    How do I become an astrophysicist?

    My dream, from my childhood is becoming an astrophysicist. Now, I'm at grade 10 and I'm good at science and math. From now, how should I develop to become a good astrophysicist:)
  32. P

    Exploring BB as a theoretical physicist or astrophysicist?

    I am curious as to the differences, if one wishes to study the big bang and the origin of the universe, as his/hers primary studies. How would my field of study, and expertise differ coming from a theoretical physics background, compared to (theoretical) astrophysics? Would there be any...
  33. K

    To be or not to be [An astrophysicist]

    I'm looking for some academic guidance since I have to apply for a university in 5 months time. I have considered being an astrophysicist, as this field was my first great love. I was an avid stargazer years back, but then I stopped observing and thinking about astronomy for some time. I thought...
  34. Dei

    Questions About Becoming an Astrophysicist or Astronomer

    Hi, I am a recent high school graduate, and my whole life I have been interested in astronomy. I have always stared in marvel at the night skies and read various books about constellations, etc. When my parents bought a telescope, that only spiked my interest further! I have, also, gained an...
  35. O

    Budding Astrophysicist: Answers to Your Questions

    Hey guys! I'm in high school right now, going to Year 12 (British curriculum). I'll have to start applying to universities in a while. I want to become an astrophysicist; do a PhD in astrophysics. I have a few questions: 1- For my Bachelor's degree, should I do a course in Physics or...
  36. C

    Schools Grad school and career questions from an aspring astrophysicist

    There's a good deal of interesting grad school info here (though mostly for non-astrophysics, of course), but it seems quite US centered. I'm a few years ahead of graduation now but figure it's best to plan ahead. My interest was piqued since the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics in...
  37. K

    Physics Is a career as an astrophysicist both challenging and rewarding?

    Hi there! I am new in this forum; i have a big question: can i easily find job as a researcher in astrophysics? I read that if you choose astrophysics, you might find a job as professor (after postodocs), and i also read that job in private or national lab are difficult to find and very...
  38. G

    Programs Pursuing a degree as an astrophysicist

    Okay so I'm looking into pursuing a degree as an astrophysicist, however I'm not sure if it is best suited to work in the field in which I would like to pursue I don't want to get stuck just studying stars and junk that will happen after I'm done I need assistance figuring out which degrees to...
  39. A

    8 yr old who wants be an astrophysicist

    Hi all! My son who is 8 wants to be an astrophysicist. He has already chosen his college lol, MIT. He loves all things space, owns his own orion telescope, and watches and reads anything he can about space. He received a perfect score on his IOWA testing related to science. He knows more about...
  40. S

    Computer Programming for Astrophysicist

    Hi Guys, I'm going to start my undergraduate degree in Astrophysics at Columbia University this Fall. From the various conversations I have with professional Astrophysicists, it seems like i have to know computer programming on top of astrophysics, if i want to work in the field. I have ZERO...
  41. G

    How to become an Astrophysicist?

    I am currently in year 10 and my subject selections are coming up. I was wondering which subjects i need to become an Astrophysicist. PLEASE HELP!
  42. T

    Physics Career possibilities: Astrophysicist / Astronomer?

    Hello, I am in the 11th grade in my high school, which is in Lithuania. This year I had to choose specific levels for my subjects and I chose physics, mathematics, informatics and English as A level subjects (more lessons, more material, better teachers) and left lithuanian, economics, history...
  43. B

    Physics Salary of An Astrophysicist with a PhD?

    Ok so ever since I've been little I wanted to be a doctor but getting farther into my undergraduate work I really enjoy working in astrophysics...but the catch is i like money. Cal my greedy or whatever but I like medicine both as mind stimulation and obviously outstanding pay. My question is...
  44. E

    What steps should I take to become an Astrophysicist?

    I am currently studying my last year in England, I am studying creative digital media. I found out in my second year while studying creative digtal media that I wanted to become and Astrophysicists. The reason why I'm finishing up this course is because I need this bachlor degree in order to...
  45. C

    What makes a great astrophysicist

    Would appreciate any comments
  46. B

    Physics What are some alternatives to being an Astrophysicist?

    I am currently a senior in high school who has just finished his college applications, and is currently waiting for admission letters. I've always been captivated by the mysteries of the universe and dreamed of becoming an astrophysicist; mainly to help humanity discover some of the wonders...
  47. G

    Programs I want to be an astrophysicist, should I major in that or just in physics?

    First off, I have this huge bug with math. When I understand it the problems take me a few seconds to do, when I don't, its like world war 3. So why did I pick physics of all things? Because I love space, I would love nothing more then to study the planets. But to do this it will require a...
  48. C

    Nuclear Engineer, Astrophysicist, or both?

    Hi, I am currently attending UTK and studying in their nuclear engineering program. I think this is a great program of study that will pay off well, even with just a bachelors degree. However, I am really interested in astrophysics. The job market in astrophysics is a little riskier than the...
  49. K

    How to become an astrophysicist or an astronomer ?

    Hello, guys.. i Need a little help here... My name is Kavin and I'm from Malaysia... See, i want to be an astrophysicist but i don't know how to be one. I know my first step would be to do diploma in physics. Since i can't do that in Malaysia ( because that course doesn't exist here ), i have...
  50. D

    Attempting to be an Astrophysicist

    Hello everyone! I am an aspiring undergraduate student majoring in astrophysics now. I come from Harlem in New York City, which isn't exactly famous for its scientists. Prior to college, I had absolutely no scientific background other than my aspirations. When I went to college, I struggled in...