Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

What is Space Physics about?

  1. Feb 16, 2008 #1
    What is space physics? Can you tell me?
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 16, 2008 #2
    Stuff related with astronomy,astrophysics,etc. There are many subjects related to space and physics..
  4. Feb 16, 2008 #3


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor

    I've seen Space Physics used synonymously to mean Astrophysics. In my earliest years of university, I was majoring in Physics with options in Space Physics (Astrophysics) and Nuclear Physics. My baccalaureate (BS) would have been in physics had I not changed to Nuclear Engineering.
  5. Feb 17, 2008 #4
    Many times when I've seen Space Physics listed as a research area it would involve a lot of atmospheric science.
  6. Feb 17, 2008 #5
    Interesting question. Actually I wanted to go into space physics, but got into a school where they do astrophysics, so I ended up doing the latter. In my experience, space physics is usually short for space plasma physics. It's basically the study of the earth and solar system, including magnetospheres, stellar wind, the physics of the sun, magnetohydrodynamics, etc. Space physics differs from astrophysics in that in astro, we can't actually go to the sites that we're observing and take in situ data. Space physicists, on the other hand, can send up probes and take all kinds of measurements about the solar system.

    Of course, based on what Astronuc said, it seems that some departments or labs use the term "space physics" to refer to what is really astrophysics.
  7. Feb 18, 2008 #6

    Andy Resnick

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Education Advisor

    It can simply mean doing physics without gravity present. This is more interesting than it may appear- fluids behave very differently, for example. Biology is affected also.
  8. Feb 18, 2008 #7
    Some physics relating to space is less astro- in nature. Planetary science, plasma physics, atmospheric science...
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook