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

Northern Chile is known for clear skies, and some of the largest, most powerful telescopes on Earth are being built in the area, turning the South American country into a global astronomy hub. Fox News, "Rare total solar eclipse darkens sun over Chile, Argentina," 3 July 2019 Northern Chile is known for clear skies, and some of the largest, most powerful telescopes on Earth are being built in the area, turning the South American country into a global astronomy hub. Washington Post, "Chileans and Argentines ready to gaze at total solar eclipse," 2 July 2019 But others argue that promoting astronomy misses the point. Daniel Clery, Science | AAAS, "Divisive giant telescope cleared for construction on Hawaiian peak," 25 June 2019 The report goes on to list modern techno-search programs—and how traditional telescopes, doing non-alien astronomy, could help the SETI effort without much extra effort themselves. Sarah Scoles, WIRED, "The WIRED Guide to Aliens," 5 June 2019 The King’s Observatory, built for King George III to study astronomy. Ruth Bloomfield, WSJ, "A London Rental Reaches for the Stars," 5 Sep. 2018 What's more, about half of that $200 goes to fund the telescope's namesake organization that promotes astronomy around the world. Don Melanson, Popular Mechanics, "The Best Telescopes To Get Started in Stargazing," 1 Aug. 2018 As datasets in astronomy become ever larger and combine measurements from many types of telescopes, new techniques are necessary to grapple with the immensity of information. Mara Johnson-groh, Quartz, "Art plays an invaluable role in groundbreaking space discoveries," 8 June 2019 Despite all the lingering questions, at least one thing is clear: The FRB era of astronomy has arrived. Yvette Cendes, Discover Magazine, "What Are FRBs? The Discovery of Mysterious Signals From the Cosmos," 7 Feb. 2019

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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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

Comments on astronomy

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