Astronomy & Astronomers
Astronomy & Astronomers
Mankind has long gazed toward the heavens, searching to put meaning and order to the universe around him. Although the movement of constellations — patterns imprinted on the night sky — was the easiest to track, other celestial events such as eclipses and the motion of planets were also charted and predicted. Astronomy is the study of the sun, moon, stars, planets, comets, gas, galaxies, gas, dust and other non-Earthly bodies and phenomena. In curriculum for K-4 students, NASA defines astronomy as simple “the study of stars, planets and space.” Astronomy and astrology were historically associated, but astrology is not a science and is no longer recognized as having anything to do with astronomy. Below we discuss the history of astronomy and related fields of study, including cosmology. Many developments in optics come from astronomy. The Galilean refracting telescope and the Newtonian reflecting telescope form the basis of pretty much every optical system in the world, including disposable cameras, photocopy machines, TV cameras and more things than I can list. Modern astronomy continues to push the limits of optical systems, so advances end up in things like weather satellites. Astronomy also pushes detector technology, with similar results. Earth observation satellites also need to know where they are pointing, and they figure that out by looking at the stars. Astronomical observations provide verification of theories of basic physics, so an understanding of our immediate world is enhanced by observing far-off galaxies. Computers! They also use large telescopes in locations such as Hawaii, La Palma, Australia, and Chile, usually on the top of mountains where the air is clear and there are no problems with lighting. We also use instruments on-board spacecraft (such as the Hubble Space Telescope). In our group we also build telescopes and cameras for use on satellite observatories. What are the benefits of astronomical research in everyday life? Astronomy helps us find out about the Universe and our place within it. We also train people in modern technology; many who don't eventually become astronomers go out into the "real world" and contribute to mainstream industry and the economy. Astronomical research also has important implications for other branches of science. For instance, we use stars as remote "laboratories" in which we can study matter under conditions that we just couldn't achieve on Earth. This helps us refine our knowledge of fields such as atomic physics. Astronomy Facts
It is often referred to as the final frontier. Astronomy is an exciting field that most people have at least some interest in. There are literally hundreds of facts that I could go through, most of which you would have never guessed. I have decided to narrow it down to 10 of my favorite facts about the world of astronomy. Below, you will find these cool astronomy facts in no particular order:
My Ten Favorite Astronomy Facts
10. The night sky appears to be moving when you look at it. All of the stars and points of interest seem to be moving from east to west. This appearance of movement is due to the fact that the earth is rotating. The speed at which the earth is rotating is approximately 1,000 miles per hour. This is the cause of setting and rising of objects at night. You would also be able to see it during the day, as if it were six months ago, if you were able to turn the sun off like a light bulb. A year is known as 365 days, but the earth orbits the sun 365.25 times. This is why we had to come up with a leap year every 4 years, to account for the extra .25 that is otherwise not accounted for. Most people are aware of that, but did you know that once every 400 years we also do another leap year in addition? This is because the earth rotates around the sun a little over 365.25 times, just a fraction if you will. We compensate that by having...
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