Related topics: galaxies · planets · universe

Video: Isolation in Antarctica

Cold, dark, remote, Antarctica is as close to space as you can get on Earth. Humans conduct research in Antarctic bases on a wide range of topics, from climate studies and astronomy to glaciology and human physiology and ...

South Africa's MeerKAT solves mystery of 'X-galaxies'

Many galaxies far more active than the Milky Way have enormous twin jets of radio waves extending far into intergalactic space. Normally these go in opposite directions, coming from a massive black hole at the centre of the ...

Elon Musk dismisses astronomy concerns over Starlink network

SpaceX founder Elon Musk on Monday dismissed scientists' concerns that his company's Starlink constellation of internet satellites would obscure the view of the night sky, predicting the network "will not cause any impact ...

Globular cluster billowing in the galactic wind

The galactic magnetic field plays an important role in the evolution of the galaxy, but its small-scale behaviour is still poorly known. It is also unknown whether it permeates the halo of the galaxy or not. By using observations ...

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Astronomy

Astronomy (from the Greek words astron (ἄστρον), "star", and nomos (νόμος), "law") is the scientific study of celestial objects (such as stars, planets, comets, and galaxies) and phenomena that originate outside the Earth's atmosphere (such as the cosmic background radiation). It is concerned with the evolution, physics, chemistry, meteorology, and motion of celestial objects, as well as the formation and development of the universe.

Astronomy is one of the oldest sciences. Astronomers of early civilizations performed methodical observations of the night sky, and astronomical artifacts have been found from much earlier periods. However, the invention of the telescope was required before astronomy was able to develop into a modern science. Historically, astronomy has included disciplines as diverse as astrometry, celestial navigation, observational astronomy, the making of calendars, and even astrology, but professional astronomy is nowadays often considered to be synonymous with astrophysics.

Since the 20th century, the field of professional astronomy split into observational and theoretical branches. Observational astronomy is focused on acquiring and analyzing data, mainly using basic principles of physics. Theoretical astronomy is oriented towards the development of computer or analytical models to describe astronomical objects and phenomena. The two fields complement each other, with theoretical astronomy seeking to explain the observational results, and observations being used to confirm theoretical results.

Amateur astronomers have contributed to many important astronomical discoveries, and astronomy is one of the few sciences where amateurs can still play an active role, especially in the discovery and observation of transient phenomena.

Old or even ancient astronomy is not to be confused with astrology, the belief system which claims that human affairs are correlated with the positions of celestial objects. Although the two fields share a common origin and a part of their methods (namely, the use of ephemerides), they are distinct.

2009 has been declared by the UN to be the International Year of Astronomy 2009 (IYA2009). The focus is on enhancing the public’s understanding and engagement with astronomy.

This text uses material from Wikipedia, licensed under CC BY-SA