An Introduction to Astronomy and Stargazing

Astronomy is basically the study of the origins and the phenomena of celestial objects. Astronomy is one of the oldest existing sciences and it has been practiced since prehistoric times.

Today, astronomy depends on some well known physical theories like Newton’s Laws of general relativity and Motion. However, in the past astronomy had been quite simple and something which was done by everyone.

People used to gaze at the sky in order to navigate the sea and to tell what time or season in the year it was. The history and the evolution of astronomy is in fact quite interesting.

From prehistoric times, man had looked up to the sky to get several answers. The Egyptians too had been fascinated with the night sky.

Three of the most well-known pyramids in Egypt are in fact built in the pattern of the Orion’s belt. Several cultures had looked to the sky to know about the seasons cycles which was quite crucial for them for planting the crops and harvesting them.

Over the years, men like Hipparchus, Aristotle and Pythagoras had come up with several theories about the shape of the earth. The first-ever man to believe that earth orbited around the Sun had been Aristarchus in 250 BC. Several cultures had also developed their traditions and religious ceremonies based on the appearance of comets and eclipses.

Astronomy in the Middle Ages

In the year 1200 AD the Catholic Church had adopted Aristotle’s views that heavens were pure and the earth was impure. These views were promoted by the church and several religious applications were developed. It was believed that the earth was at the center of the universe.

This view had only been challenged in the year 1610 by Galileo. Galileo had made several observations about the universe by looking at the night sky through the telescope. He had realized that there is much more to the universe than what we can see and what we know.

He announced to the world about his views that the Earth in fact orbited around the Sun. Galileo had been made to denounce these views by the angered church. It was only 50 years later that Sir Isaac Newton too announced his views. He developed several theories based on which the discovery of several outer planets had been made.

Modern times and astronomy

Astronomy has come a long way since Galileo and Newton. Today even the Big Bang Theory is questioned and challenged. Men like Hawkings and Einstein made several important contributions to astronomy.

Today, the internet makes astronomy available to everyday people. People can view space and see what the scientists see. Hubble Space Telescope, the first-ever space telescope is changing the way we see the universe. There is no looking back for astronomy as everyday more studies and researches are conducted and more truths are revealed. Astronomy is quite an interesting and intriguing subject and it has its own practical applications too.

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