Related topics: galaxies · planets · universe

Australia hails surprise super-telescope decision

Australia has hailed a surprise decision giving it a role in a radio telescope project aimed at revolutionising astronomy, vowing to draw on its decades of experience in space science.

Neutron stars in the computer cloud

The combined computing power of 200,000 private PCs helps astronomers take an inventory of the Milky Way. The Einstein@Home project connects home and office PCs of volunteers from around the world to a global supercomputer. ...

Cosmic giants shed new light on dark matter

( —Astronomers at the University of Birmingham (UK), Academica Sinica in Taiwan, and the Kavli Institute of Physics and Mathematics of the Universe in Japan, have found new evidence that the mysterious dark matter ...

Mysterious objects at the edge of the electromagnetic spectrum

The human eye is crucial to astronomy. Without the ability to see, the luminous universe of stars, planets and galaxies would be closed to us, unknown forever. Nevertheless, astronomers cannot shake their fascination with ...

Cosmic thread that binds us revealed

( -- Astronomers at The Australian National University have found evidence for the textile that forms the fabric of the Universe.

Listening to quantum radio

Researchers at Delft University of Technology have created a quantum circuit to listen to the weakest radio signal allowed by quantum mechanics. This new quantum circuit opens the door to possible future applications in areas ...

Why does the Milky Way rotate?

We live in a galaxy that is called the Milky Way. It's called a barred spiral galaxy, which means that it has a spiral shape with a bar of stars across its middle. The galaxy is rather huge—at least 100,000 light-years ...

page 1 from 23


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