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The Question

(Submitted March 27, 1997)

I was just wondering exactly what astrophysics is? Also what is the difference between astrophysics and high-energy astrophysics?

The Answer

Astrophysics is the part of astronomy that deals with the physics of stars, stellar systems, and interstellar material. It applies the laws of physics to astronomical bodies in order to help us understand how these bodies formed, how they interact with other bodies, and how they cease to be.

High-energy astrophysics is a sub-branch of astrophysics which utilizes information obtained from astronomical objects in X-ray and gamma-ray wavelengths of the electromagnetic spectrum. X-rays and gamma-rays have higher energies than visible and ultraviolet light.

Jim Lochner
for Ask an Astrophysicist

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