# Can we have “Astronomy” added to the logo? If not, why not?

We've already had some discussion about the possibility of changing our name and/or logo to reflect the fact that astronomy questions are on topic here, both on meta and in (1) chat (2). Initially, people were opposed, but we seem to have settled on the prospect of adding the word "astronomy" to the logo which is now received more or less positively. I'm asking this meta question to get an official community consensus of the current opinion.

As a reminder, the reason for doing this is that people who will potentially be asking questions on the site, i.e. new users, will not necessarily understand (observational) astronomy to be within the scope when they just see "Physics" in the title. Since the merger I have seen at least these three four examples of people who were confused about the fact that astronomy questions are now on topic for this site:

And these are just the people who thought astronomy was off topic and decided to post anyway. It stands to reason that there are others, perhaps a significant number, who see our site logo and name and decide not to post at all.

To be clear, the only change would be adding the word "astronomy" to the logo, perhaps something like this:

Obviously if this goes through, the actual design would be left to Jin, but this is simply a rough idea of what I'm proposing. If you have ideas about how the design should look, feel free to leave them as comments on this question.

I'm adding one answer below to serve as an indicator of the community opinion: vote up if you agree, down if you disagree. Feel free to add another answer if you want, but don't forget to express your opinion on the one "poll" answer!

If you have a reason not to add "astronomy" to the logo, please mention it either in a comment or answer!

• Just out of curiosity, will chemistry also be merging with physics if it too fails? – Larry Harson Aug 20 '12 at 19:42
• @Larry At this point I couldn't say anything meaningful about that. It's a possibility we can certainly consider if the SE team decides that chem.SE is not viable, but if that does happen, it won't be determined for a long time yet. – David Z Aug 20 '12 at 20:01
• Btw: Would the site URL also change, e.g. physics.stackexchange.com --> physicsandastronomy.stackexchange.com ? – Qmechanic Aug 21 '12 at 18:40
• @Qmechanic no, not at this time. This question is only about deciding to change the logo. – David Z Aug 21 '12 at 19:33
• The design looks quite good – Dilaton Aug 22 '12 at 10:51

To me personally it was always clear that astronomy (containing observational and theoretical astrophysics for example) IS physics, such that it would not be necessary to add it to the logo of physics SE.

But after rethinking and discussing this a bit with my office mate (he is an astrophysicist), I'm no longer too opposed to adding astronomy to the logo since

a) I like it to see astronomy questions and people interested in it being around here :-)

b) Looking at how astronomy is implemented in the academic landscape it is not the case everywhere that astronomy is treated as a subfield of physics. Here in Germany for example, we have universities with institutes explicitely named "physics and astronomy", sometimes there exist distinct departments for physics and astronomy, or astronomy is listed as a part of the "mathematical and natural sciences" faculty, etc ...

c) so people from places in the world where astronomy is not treated as a subfield of physics generally might need some encouragement to ask astronomy questions here. Adding the word to the logo can be a nice way to do this.

• (+1) I wonder why I so often agree with your opinions... – Eduardo Guerras Valera Apr 24 '13 at 1:16

This will be the official "poll" answer: vote this up if you agree that the logo should be changed, down if you disagree. In the latter case it would be great if you can express your reasons for disagreeing in a comment.

A rough conception of what the modified logo could look like is provided in the question. This is not a finalized design, so please do not vote based on whether you like the way it looks. Your vote should only indicate whether you agree or disagree with adding the word "astronomy" to the logo.

• I'll upvote if you put astronomy all in lower case. – Larry Harson Aug 20 '12 at 20:31
• @Larry your vote on this answer should indicate whether or not you favor the logo being changed, period. Please don't vote based on whether you like the tentative design or not, since as I said, the final design will be left up to Jin. If you would like to offer input about how you would like the design to look, you can do that by commenting on the question. – David Z Aug 20 '12 at 20:38
• I'm quite disappointed that several people have disagreed with the change without presenting any reasons in favor of it. – David Z Aug 21 '12 at 19:34
• I guess people are afraid that it will upset the balance which approximately matches Math Stack Exchange, and attract too many people asking trivial questions on which telescope to buy, and how to eliminate camera shake when viewing stars etc. – Larry Harson Aug 21 '12 at 20:31
• @Larry hm, okay, thanks for bringing that up. I wouldn't expect that to be an issue, though, because shopping recommendations are always off topic (and will be closed as such), and questions about things like camera shake can always be redirected to Photography. Nontrivial observational astronomy questions are on topic here, of course. – David Z Aug 21 '12 at 21:05
• Maybe the reasons to agree or disagree are not (re)stated in this thread because they probably did not change that much since the issue was discussed here for example. – Dilaton Aug 21 '12 at 23:01
• @Dilaton that's just the thing, I haven't seen any good reasons not to change the logo. So I'm wondering why people are still opposed, in light of the evidence that changing it could bring more questions into the site. Plus, when we discussed it in chat, the participants there seemed more or less in favor. – David Z Aug 22 '12 at 0:53
• BTW, a good reason would be a logical argument that adding "astronomy" to the logo would cause people who would otherwise have asked their questions here not to do so. – David Z Aug 22 '12 at 1:17
• Well it just seems like pointless dilution to me. On topic Astronomy = Astrophysics = Physics. Should we also rename it to Physics and Astronomy and AMO and HEP? – user2963 Aug 22 '12 at 4:24
• @zephyr but a lot of people don't see it that way. Not everyone agrees that Astronomy = Astrophysics = Physics. Dilution it may be, but it's certainly not pointless. – David Z Aug 22 '12 at 4:45
• I have not voted, as I am neutral. What about on the rim of the hat write all the subsets of physics , astronomy, astrophysics, HEP, etc so it would show the questions are equally acceptable? It could be made a flashing hat. – anna v Oct 18 '12 at 6:33
• @annav I assume you're being sarcastic, but the point is that astronomy is the only field among those for which a large number of people do not consider it to be a subset of physics. – David Z Oct 18 '12 at 13:30
• No sarcasm intended. – anna v Oct 18 '12 at 14:09

Adding the word Astronomy might discourage people posting stuff from other branches, but perhaps the Feynman diagram and the hut potential could be substituted by a drawing of Saturn with the rings, or any other explicitly astronomical thing. That would be enough to confirm people who are insecure about posting astronomy questions, that here is the right place.

As it is now, the logo is nice but not very useful in that sense: Nobody interested in the Higgs is going to doubt whether a site called PHYSICS is the appropriate place, whereas I can understand that somebody with a question concerning, say, celestial mechanics or simply a change of coordinates from equatorial to horizontal, can think of the Maths site as more appropriate.

• I'm +1ing this because I like the idea of more "inclusive" images than the current particle physics ones - but my vote shouldn't be taken to imply that I agree that "adding the word Astronomy might discourage people posting stuff from other branches", because I really don't think it would. – Nathaniel Apr 27 '13 at 3:37
• It would be nice to have some images relating to other sub-fields such as fluid dynamics or thermodynamics as well - though avoiding clutter might be tricky. – Nathaniel Apr 27 '13 at 3:39
• @Nathaniel, I love thermodynamics nearly as much as you (but once I had to choose and I love astrophysics only a slight little bit more). Thermodynamics is the supreme true, it was true before nobody knew about atoms and it will still be true when the rest of today's physics is completely surpased and forgotten. Thermodynamics applies to a humble teapot and to a supermassive blackhole as well, and its sister Statistical Mechanics is the most beautiful theory ever invented. I don't propose that of the astronomy picture because I am an astrophysicist. I don't feel any need of putting any... – Eduardo Guerras Valera May 1 '13 at 20:38
• ...any particular stress on astronomy above the rest of sub-branches. It is just that there is a proposal in Area 51 of creating a separate site for Astronomy and Astrophysics and it will reach the beta state soon, its support is growing more everyday, because there seems to be a lot of amateur astronomers that somehow don't associate astronomy in their minds with physics and they seem to ignore this site. – Eduardo Guerras Valera May 1 '13 at 20:42
• That is why I propose to change the picture of the logo. I don't think there is as huge a community of doubtful "amateur thermodinamicists" (invented word, sorry) or "amateur particle scientists" (you don't see many amateur synchrotrons sold in stores). Since I strongly think that a separate site of Astronomy and Astrophysics will damage this one we have now, I propose that changes in the logo. But if we start adding symbols to the logo, it will become a "where is wally" drawing... – Eduardo Guerras Valera May 1 '13 at 20:49
• @EduardoGuerrasValera: can you think of another field to add onto the drawing that would both be on-topic on this site, and would be taught in a totally seperate department in a large number of universities? I can't think of any, now that we've decided that engineering questions are off-topic. – Jerry Schirmer Jan 29 '14 at 21:18

I don't think it's necessary to change the logo:

1. We shouldn't single out astronomy. I personally would say that it's a regular sub-discipline of physics. Some universities do have separate astronomy departments, but by the same logic we should also add "geology" or"geophysics" to the logo, because it's an organisationally separate department at my university.

2. I don't think many people will be deterred from asking questions, just because it is not in the logo. If anything, people tend to post a lot broader questions than the moderators would like, and the mods then close them.

3. I wanted to post the following as a joke, but the more I think about it, the more I fear it might be true: If we make the label "astronomy" more prominent, people might think "oh, astrology!" and start posting questions about horoscopes. (I wonder if we get many metaphysics questions on meta.physics.SE?)

• Good of you to present your reasons, but I would respond as follows: (1) there are many people who do not consider astronomy a subdiscipline of physics, whereas the same is not true of other subdisciplines e.g. geophysics; (2) As shown in the question there is some concrete evidence that people are being deterred from asking astro questions; (3) People didn't post astrology questions to the actual astronomy site while it existed, so it seems unlikely that they would do so here. (Also we haven't gotten any metaphysics Qs on meta.physics for a long time, if ever.) – David Z Apr 30 '13 at 15:57
• Meta is protected from the least knowledgeable users by the requirement to have 5 rep on the main site to post here. – dmckee --- ex-moderator kitten Apr 30 '13 at 17:06

# NO

About page already states that it is for Physics and Astronomy Questions and also have a tag Astronomy. So, no need to change the logo.

Physics must remain Physics, Just Physics.

I strongly support this, but i ask a bit more; some stylist design updates, that includes something related to astrophysics. We have the Mexican Hat potential, but we need at least something else that suggests 'space'