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What Is Astronomy? - Astronomy 101

Jun 12, 2008
Since the dawn of time, men and women have looked up into the sky, looking for answers. Why are we here? Where are we? And what are those shinning lights in the night sky? Astronomy thus began, and it is the study of that beauty that we call the heavens.

Astronomy today is simply not looking up at the stars, finding new stars, and analyzing catalogued stars, it encompasses many different areas. For example some define astronomy as the study of the motions and natures of celestial bodies, while others will say that it is about studying the objects and the matter in space, while yet others define astronomy as the study of the Universe, which includes everything.

The study of astronomy has gone on since the dawn of time. Men and women wanted to know more and looking up with thought and wonder amazed people thousands of people as it does with us. The study of astronomy is science. And men and woman started spending more time studying what lay outside of the sphere of our Earth.

This study of astronomy has advanced over the years, whereas a thousand years ago there were no instruments that could give us a peak of what lay outside the Earth, like our planets. In fact for so much time men and woman believed that we were the centre of the Universe. However, as we have progressed we have found the Earth is round, and we are not the centre of the Universe, but on an arm in the Milky Way galaxy; one of many hundreds of billions of other galaxies.

Telescopes are used for actually viewing the heavens and celestial bodies. The term celestial bodies, means the stars, the galaxies, the planets and all objects in space. Optical telescopes however is a recent invention compared to how long man has looked up at the stars in wonder.

It was Galileo Galilee who made his own kind of telescope, and viewed Saturn, and said that Saturn looked like it had ears! And this happened only a few hundred years ago! Another major contributor to the telescope was Isaac Newton, who also was the first one to find gravity exists when an apple fell on his head!

Both Galileo and Newton made such an impact in the field of astronomy that both there original designs of the telescope are in use today! You can find these telescopes at many stores, though toy store telescopes will often have Galileo's version of the telescope. Albeit that the telescopes available today are much more sophisticated and advanced than Galileo's or Newton's.

The field of astronomy is simple amazing. It has transformed our view of our Universe. The study of astronomy did not come with ease. For a long time the repression of the facts about our place in the Universe was hidden. Many were even put to death because of there views in astronomy. These pioneers paved the way for us, and today we can look billions upon billions of light years away and see objects which would not be possible to physically visit in a lifetime.
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