Astronomy & Astrophysics

The Milky Way over Chichen Itza on the Yucatán peninsula, one of the largest cities of the Maya civilization

The Milky Way over Chichen Itza on the Yucatán peninsula, one of the largest cities of the Maya civilization     [Source]

Astronomy is often considered both “the oldest and the newest science”. It is especially unique among the sciences in that astronomers have only one laboratory (the Universe) and all of its experiments are uncontrolled! Conclusions can only be inferred based on observations. But it’s a bit of a backwards process: astronomers observe something happen in practice and then try to see if it’s possible for it to happen in theory.

Before the advent of astrophotography, all astronomical observations were once accomplished visually. At the time, the skill of an astronomer depended on their recorded field notes. In recent decades, professional astronomy has become essentially synonymous with astrophysics—the study of the physics of the Universe. It is a very broad discipline, encompassing both extremes of many physical quantities, such as volume, mass, velocity, and temperature.

The Hubble Space Telescope, photographed from Space Shuttle Discovery in 1997

The Hubble Space Telescope, photographed from Space Shuttle Discovery in 1997     [Source]


Pages on Astronomy & Astrophysics:

  • Stellar parallax and the parsec  (coming soon!)
  • Apparent and absolute magnitude  (coming soon!)
  • Hertzsprung-Russell diagram  (coming soon!)
  • Stellar classification  (coming soon!)
  • The Universe is not 6000 years old!  (coming soon!)

(More to come soon!)

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