astronomy

noun
as·​tron·​o·​my | \ ə-ˈsträ-nə-mē How to pronounce astronomy (audio) \
plural astronomies

Definition of astronomy

: the study of objects and matter outside the earth's atmosphere and of their physical and chemical properties

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The Difference Between Astronomy and Astrology

Some may find it easy to confuse astronomy and astrology. At one time, these two words actually were synonymous (that is, astronomy once meant what astrology means today), but they have since moved apart from each other. In current use, astronomy is concerned with “the study of objects and matter outside the earth's atmosphere,” while astrology is the purported divination of how stars and planets influence our lives. Put bluntly, astronomy is a science, and astrology is not.

Examples of astronomy in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Recent years have seen astronomy begin to broaden beyond the photon. Eoin O'carroll, The Christian Science Monitor, "Neutrino demonstration heralds a new way of observing the cosmos," 12 July 2018 But now, reports Sofie Werthan at Slate, astronomy has returned to the venerable Observatory after a sixty-year pause. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "Now That the Smog Has Lifted, Astronomy Returns to London’s Royal Observatory," 28 June 2018 That’s the point at which astronomy came to be known as a science and astrology was acknowledged as not a science. Olivia B. Waxman, Time, "Where Do Zodiac Signs Come From? Here's the True History Behind Your Horoscope," 21 June 2018 But in subsequent decades, the field has warmed itself more to acoustic astronomy. John Wenz, Popular Mechanics, "Meet the Astronomer Who Listens to the Music of the Cosmos," 12 May 2015 University of Michigan astronomy professor Patrick Seitzer thinks the initiative is a bad idea. Avery Thompson, Popular Mechanics, "A Russian Startup Wants to Project Giant Billboards in Space," 18 Jan. 2019 There's no doubt a clash of academic cultures here—archaeoastronomy places more emphasis on social and cultural evidence and interpretations, whereas astronomy is all about precise data. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "“Wolf’s jaw” star cluster may have inspired parts of Ragnarök myth," 16 Nov. 2018 The astronomy team from Columbia University found this distant satellite, known as an exomoon, using two of NASA’s space telescopes. Loren Grush, The Verge, "Astronomers may have discovered the first moon ever found outside our Solar System," 3 Oct. 2018 The new National Academy of Sciences report feeds into a decadal priority-setting system in the astronomy community that guides NASA's long-term strategy. Meghan Bartels, Space.com, "To Find Alien Life, NASA Needs Bigger, Bolder Exoplanet-Hunting Telescopes," 5 Sep. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'astronomy.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of astronomy

12th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for astronomy

Middle English astronomie, from Anglo-French, from Latin astronomia, from Greek, from astr- + -nomia -nomy

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Last Updated

19 Mar 2019

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Time Traveler for astronomy

The first known use of astronomy was in the 12th century

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More Definitions for astronomy

astronomy

noun

English Language Learners Definition of astronomy

: the scientific study of stars, planets, and other objects in outer space

astronomy

noun
as·​tron·​o·​my | \ ə-ˈsträ-nə-mē How to pronounce astronomy (audio) \

Kids Definition of astronomy

: a science concerned with objects and matter outside the earth's atmosphere and of their motions and makeup

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More from Merriam-Webster on astronomy

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with astronomy

Spanish Central: Translation of astronomy

Nglish: Translation of astronomy for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of astronomy for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about astronomy

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