Not to be confused with an Aerospace Engineer, or Rocket Scientist.
Ain't that the truth! Indeed, astrophysicists generally exist in two flavors:
- They look at and try to interpret data, which might come from radio telescopes, optical telescopes, or telescopes sensitive to infrared, ultraviolet, X-rays, or gamma rays. The telescopes might be on the ground or on satellites. Observers generally know nothing about how rockets work, nor even much about the telescopes they use.
- Instrument builders:
- They build the telescopes (and are usually observers as well, when they get a moment free from building things). Those of us who build telescopes that go on satellites know a little bit about rocketry, but mostly we just curse the real rocket scientists when the rockets don't work. (Rocket science is hard, don't ever forget that.)