History and Development of Astronomy
Astronomy, the study of the universe, is said to be the oldest of the sciences. Ancient civilizations observed heavenly events such as the passage of days and nights and the phases of the moon. They saw that the cycle of the seasons was created to the position of the sun in the sky and the length of the day. From these simple regularities the first calendars emerged. These calendars were used for knowing when to plant or harvest crops. Or also for predicting regular events such as floods. Large stone structures still exist by which ancient societies could predict other events, such as eclipses of the sun and moon. The people who were slowing learning about this new science gained a steam through being able to predict eclipses and the positions at the sun and moon at different times of the year.
One aspect of the sky which does not appear to change is the pattern of the stars. The first nomads may have used the stars for direction findings in their travels. For others, they 're important for religious reasons. The ancient groups together some stars into constellations. Often, these were given names derived from imaginary pictures of creatures, such as Scorpio. They recognized twelve constellations, through which the sun, moon, and wandering stars or planets moved. The belief that the position of the moving bodies at a particular time effect events on the earth gave rise to astrology. Hence, astronomies origins are both practical and mystical.
Astronomy first became a science with the ancient Greeks. Rather than simply observing the heavens or providing mythical and mystical stories about events in the sky, the Greeks sought explanations in terms of mathematical models of the...
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...it to measure distances. Light travels at three hundred thousand kilometers in a second. To cross the solar system, light would take 12 hours. In other words, the solar system is twelve light hours across.
It was only in 1950 that astronomers, particularly radio astronomers, were able o confirm positively, that our sun was part of a galaxy with spiraling arms. Other galaxies have different appearances. Over 100 billion stars make up our galaxy. This distance, from one side to other, is about 100,000 light-years. In our galaxy, the sun is located in one of the arms about thirty thousand light years from the center. It 's only in the last few decades that astronomers have realized just how many galaxies exist, as more and more telescopes have brought into action. Present estimates calculate the number of galaxies which can be detected as several million.
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