In physics, scattering means changing the direction of movement of a particle. The word is commonly used for the scattering of photons and electrons but also used for other particles. Photon scattering is considered one of the phenomena in radiative transfer (along with absorption and emission) and is sometimes equivalent to absorption followed by emission due to the energy gained from the absorption. The word scattering might be used if emission is immediately after the absorption, but this terminology might be stretched if a bit of time between is not relevant to the analysis. Some types of scattering:
Note that some photon scattering phenomena follows the pattern of classical (wave) electromagnetic radiation theory, whereas some does not, and is only explained by light's quantum nature.
The term scattering is also used regarding the dynamics of planetary systems, e.g., planets redirected from their orbits. The same term may be used for interaction between stars in "crowded" regions such as globular clusters and the centers of galaxies.