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I noticed that this question was migrated to the new Astronomy beta site:

My understanding was that since the merger with the old astronomy site, all astronomy questions were on topic here, including practical, non-physicsy ones like this. In practice we don't really see much of this type of question, though.

Normally if a question is on topic it won't be migrated (unless the OP asks for it, which I guess could have happened here), but this one was migrated very rapidly, so I was wondering whether our policy on this type of question has changed now that the new site is online.

I'm only asking out of curiosity. Such a change in policy would be very reasonable under the circumstances - I just didn't see any discussion of it on meta.

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    $\begingroup$ In short: the policy never changed. We don't make things off topic due to the existence of another site. We do,however,migrate if the OP requests it or if it doesn't get an answer in a while. Neither happened here, though. $\endgroup$ – Manishearth Feb 25 '14 at 14:09
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I) As for the general principles, when the old Astro.SE was closed, it was decided on Phys.SE that:

  1. astronomy questions are on-topic, and

  2. to import all posts from the old Astro.SE to Phys.SE.

More generally there is also a SE rule which states that migration of a post (from one SE sister site to another) should only be considered if it is deemed off-topic.

II) As for the particular post, I was the moderator that migrated it. I guess I in a weak moment thought that it should be migrated to Astro.SE.

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    $\begingroup$ Oops, I voted to migrate so I'm partly to blame. I saw the Astronomy SE had got going again and just assumed we were migrating again. Apologies to Praveen Kadambari if this was inappropriate. $\endgroup$ – John Rennie Feb 26 '14 at 10:09
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My understanding was that since the merger with the old astronomy site, all astronomy questions were on topic here, including practical, non-physicsy ones like this.

That was my understanding as well: that everything on topic for the new astronomy site is on topic for us, and thus we should never be migrating questions to that site. Evidently some other people don't think the same, though.

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  • $\begingroup$ It would be nice to have moderator consensus on this issue, or to hear the dissenting position if there is one. For now, though, since the official policy (in as much as there is one) is still what you state, I don't see why these questions should be migrated other than by community closures. $\endgroup$ – Emilio Pisanty Feb 25 '14 at 20:01
  • $\begingroup$ Yeah, we'll have to discuss and figure it out. $\endgroup$ – David Z Feb 25 '14 at 20:10
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    $\begingroup$ I migrated a several week-old question that had gotten no attention yesterday at the OP's request. I also think thee may be some questions which are very much on topic on Astronomy and marginal here. I would encourage these posters to use astro in the future and offer them the option of migration. $\endgroup$ – dmckee Feb 26 '14 at 3:12
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I'd like to first point out that the Astronomy is in Beta and doesn't seem to be doing too great, so if you have an interest in it: go and participate!


If you go to the Definitions section of the Area51 proposal for Astronomy, most of the answers to the proposal questions and the Example Questions themselves suggest that the site is supposed to be

an academic site about the observation and scientific study of celestial objects. (source)

It seems to me that questions about observing something in space should be migrated over there, while questions about the physics of something in space would be on topic here.

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  • $\begingroup$ I gave the +1, but I could see why one might disagree with the notion that observational questions should be migrated given that they are, technically, still on topic here. And question on-topic here shouldn't be migrated away (barring a request for such action). But that's just a guess since I wasn't one of the downvoters. $\endgroup$ – tpg2114 Feb 28 '14 at 6:42

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