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Guide Astronomy: Understanding the Universe

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Mercury and Venus. Of Mars and Martians. Jupiter and Its Amazing Moons.

17 Replies to “Why Care About Astronomy?”

Magnificent Saturn. Uranus and Neptune, the Small Giants. Pluto and Its Cousins.

Gifting Information

Asteroids and Dwarf Planets. Comets—Gorgeous Primordial Snowballs.


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Catastrophic Collisions. The Formation of Planetary Systems. The Quest for Other Planetary Systems. Extra-Solar Planets Galore! Life Beyond the Earth.

The Search for Extraterrestrials. Special Relativity and Interstellar Travel. Stars—Distant Suns. The Intrinsic Brightnesses of Stars. The Diverse Sizes of Stars.

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Binary Stars and Stellar Masses. Star Clusters, Ages, and Remote Distances. Solar Neutrinos—Probes of the Sun's Core. Brown Dwarfs and Free-Floating Planets. Our Sun's Brilliant Future. White Dwarfs and Nova Eruptions. Exploding Stars—Celestial Fireworks! White Dwarf Supernovae—Stealing to Explode. Core-Collapse Supernovae—Gravity Wins.

The Brightest Supernova in Nearly Years. The Corpses of Massive Stars. Einstein's General Theory of Relativity. Warping of Space and Time. The Quest for Black Holes. Imagining the Journey to a Black Hole. Only the study of the Sun and other stars can help us to understand these processes in their entirety.

Why Study Astronomy? | Department of Astronomy, gyqacyxaja.cf

In addition, mapping the movement of all the objects in our Solar System, allows us to predict the potential threats to our planet from space. Such events could cause major changes to our world, as was clearly demonstrated by the meteorite impact in Chelyabinsk , Russia in On a personal level, teaching astronomy to our youth is also of great value. It has been proven that pupils who engage in astronomy-related educational activities at a primary or secondary school are more likely to pursue careers in science and technology, and to keep up to date with scientific discoveries National Research Council, This does not just benefit the field of astronomy, but reaches across other scientific disciplines.

Astronomy is one of the few scientific fields that interacts directly with society. Not only transcending borders, but actively promoting collaborations around the world. In the following paper, we outline the tangible aspects of what astronomy has contributed to various fields. Some of the most useful examples of technology transfer between astronomy and industry include advances in imaging and communications.

For example, a film called Kodak Technical Pan is used extensively by medical and industrial spectroscopists, industrial photographers, and artists, and was originally created so that solar astronomers could record the changes in the surface structure of the Sun. In addition, the development of Technical Pan — again driven by the requirements of astronomers — was used for several decades until it was discontinued to detect diseased crops and forests, in dentistry and medical diagnosis, and for probing layers of paintings to reveal forgeries National Research Council, In Willard S.

Boyle and George E. Smith were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for the development of another device that would be widely used in industry. The sensors for image capture developed for astronomical images, known as Charge Coupled Devices CCDs , were first used in astronomy in In the realm of communication, radio astronomy has provided a wealth of useful tools, devices, and data-processing methods. Many successful communications companies were originally founded by radio astronomers. The computer language FORTH was originally created to be used by the Kitt Peak foot telescope and went on to provide the basis for a highly profitable company Forth Inc.

It is now being used by FedEx worldwide for its tracking services. Some other examples of technology transfer between astronomy and industry are listed below National Research Council, :. The first patents for techniques to detect gravitational radiation — produced when massive bodies accelerate — have been acquired by a company to help them determine the gravitational stability of underground oil reservoirs.

Schuler, M. The aerospace sector shares most of its technology with astronomy — specifically in telescope and instrument hardware, imaging, and image-processing techniques. Since the development of space-based telescopes, information acquisition for defence has shifted from using ground-based to aerial and space-based, techniques. Defence satellites are essentially telescopes pointed towards Earth and require identical technology and hardware to those used in their astronomical counterparts.

In addition, processing satellite images uses the same software and processes as astronomical images. Some specific examples of astronomical developments used in defence are given below National Research Council, :. Observations of stars and models of stellar atmospheres are used to differentiate between rocket plumes and cosmic objects. The same method is now being studied for use in early warning systems. Astronomers developed a solar-blind photon counter — a device which can measure the particles of light from a source, during the day, without being overwhelmed by the particles coming from the Sun.

This is now used to detect ultraviolet UV photons coming from the exhaust of a missile, allowing for a virtually false-alarm-free UV missile warning system. The same technology can also be used to detect toxic gases. Astronomical methods can be used to find new fossil fuels as well as to evaluate the possibility of new renewable energy sources National Research Council, :.

Two oil companies, Texaco and BP , use IDL to analyse core samples around oil fields as well as for general petroleum research. An Australian company, called Ingenero , has created solar radiation collectors to harness the power of the Sun for energy on Earth. They have created collectors up to 16 metres in diameter, which is only possible with the use of a graphite composite material developed for an orbiting telescope array.

Technology designed to image X-rays in X-ray telescopes — which have to be designed differently from visible-light telescopes — is now used to monitor plasma fusion. If fusion — where two light atomic nuclei fuse to form a heavier nucleus — became possible to control, it could be the answer to safe, clean, energy. Astronomers struggle constantly to see objects that are ever dimmer and further away.

Medicine struggles with similar issues: to see things that are obscured within the human body. Both disciplines require high-resolution, accurate and detailed images. Perhaps the most notable example of knowledge transfer between these two studies is the technique of aperture synthesis , developed by the radio astronomer and Nobel Laureate, Martin Ryle Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, Along with these imaging techniques, astronomy has developed many programming languages that make image processing much easier, specifically IDL and IRAF.

These languages are widely used for medical applications Shasharina, Sun Kwok has served in many national and international bodies. It will appeal not only to astronomers but also to inquisitive general readers, and is strongly recommended. JavaScript is currently disabled, this site works much better if you enable JavaScript in your browser. Popular Science.

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A fascinating account of how ancient observers laid the foundation for our understanding of astronomy Includes many pictures of the sky and easy-to-understand drawings that illustrate the motions of the Sun, Moon, and planets Uses modern computer visualisation to help understand the geometrical facts of celestial mechanics Written by a gifted teacher, author, and world-renowned professional astronomer Based on a course designed for the course core programme of the University of Hong Kong HKU Provides end-of chapter questions to let readers reflect on what they learned see more benefits.

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Timeline of astronomy

Buy Softcover. FAQ Policy. Since the beginning of human civilization, people have wondered about the structure of the cosmos and our place in the Universe. More than 2, years ago, our ancestors knew that the seasons were unequal, the Earth was an unattached object floating in space, and stars existed that they could not see. From celestial observations, they concluded that the Earth was round.