Obviously, there's a lot of overlap between physics and astronomy. It would be good to have some guidelines for what goes where now that the astronomy beta is live.

Example questions for discussion:

  1. Why do we say that the earth moves around the sun?

  2. Questions about the solar system

  3. The final death of a black hole.

  4. What is meant by positive and negative gravity/energy/spactimecurvature?

  5. Would a submarine float in the atmosphere of Jupiter?

  6. What nonlinear deformations will a fast rotating planet exhibit?

I'm leaving out really obviously astronomy questions like What is 656 Beagle?. The big question marks are:

  • Classical mechanics/dynamics questions that are principally about astronomical objects
  • Cosmology
  • General Relativity

Where do those go?

  • $\begingroup$ Cosmology definitely goes with GR in Physics. Cosmology is to astronomy as atomic physics is to chemistry. $\endgroup$
    – Jim
    Jul 25, 2016 at 15:02

1 Answer 1


My usual position is that questions that are well suited to either site stay where the OP puts them. This does have the side effect of creating duplicate question on the two sites.

But I will suggest some principles:

  • Questions about particular astronomical objects (i.e. the X ray source in Cygnus as opposed to a general question about black hole emissions which could go to either site) belong on Astronomy.
  • Questions about astronomical observations, instruments (again "How telescopes work?" is good on either, "What are the current limits on angular resolution of ground based optical telescopes" is astronomy specific) , and data sets belong on Astronomy. Likewise for questions about getting telescope time or other cultural issues (if you are accepting those).
  • Questions where the answer is in some sense wrapped up in the politics of the discipline (i.e. "What qualifies a body as a planet and why are these conditions important enough to justify demoting Pluto?") got to Astronomy. {*}

I see that there is a "What should we do with questions which are really physics questions" entry on meta.astronomy, and it already hosts some suggests for the kinds of questions that should be moved here. That link pointed at a question on the meta of the first [astronomy.se] which dies in beta. The same numbered meta question on the current [astronomy.se] seems to be about naming the chatroom.

{*} Aside: I was lucky enough to talk to Clive Tombaugh a couple of times during the last years of his life. Seemed like a nice guy.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ in addition to this, which I agree with, I want to emphasize that some cross-site duplication is explicitly OK. The audiences are generally different and will provide different takes on similar questions. Lots of cross-site duplication would be bad, but some is OK and even healthy: blog.stackoverflow.com/2010/11/… $\endgroup$ Jun 11, 2011 at 9:42
  • $\begingroup$ Are you sure the link in your answer points to the correct question? $\endgroup$ Jul 22, 2016 at 17:46
  • $\begingroup$ @ChristianRau It does not. That's because it points at a question that used to exist on the meta of the old astronomy stack exchange site (that died in beta and was mostly merged with Physics). I guess I'll just scrub that paragraph. Thanks. $\endgroup$ Jul 22, 2016 at 17:53

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