Astrophysics (Index)About


(diagnostic tool)
(test or measurement that reveals something's characteristics)

The term diagnostic, as used in astrophysics and some other sciences, is a general term for a test or measurement that reveals something about an object of interest. For example, given an astronomical object presumed to be either a stellar-mass black hole or a neutron star, then a measurement or calculation which reveals which of the two (or reveals probabilities regarding which) could be referred to as a diagnostic or a diagnostic tool and the former term is also used for the results of such a test, which might be, for example, some relevant measured or calculated quantity. (The term diagnostic is borrowed from medical terminology, the term diagnosis meaning a physician's determination of a patient's disease or condition, and the adjective, diagnostic meaning "having to do with diagnosis".)

Be aware that another use of the term diagnostic is for an evaluation of people's talents and skills, and the term has been used in that respect regarding sciences such as astronomy and physics.

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Referenced by page:
Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO)