Learn the basics of astronomy with historical background and an introduction to the basic astronomy concepts, details about planets, satellites, asteroids, comets and meteors. Also learn the history of Astronomy from its origins in the religious, mythological, and astrological practices of prehistory through to modern astronomy.
Like most hobbies, getting started in astronomy can be quite challenging. From learning your way around the sky to the first telescope purchase, there are lots to learn. Discover everything you need to know to get started in astronomy and a little bit more.
Distance is usually measured with a ruler, measuring tape or a wheel. All these techniques rely on us being able to physically measure the distance between two points, but for stars and planets, this isn't very practical. Instead of measuring, astronomers have to calculate these values and they do this using a variety of methods.
An equinox is a moment in which the plane of Earth's equator passes through the centre of the Sun, a time when both hemispheres of the Earth are illuminated equally and day and night are the same lengths.
The visual brightness of stars, planets and other astronomical objects is based on the visual magnitude scale. We look at this scale and how astronomers use it to measure relative brightnesses of objects in the night's sky.
Sidereal time is a timekeeping system that astronomers use to locate celestial objects. Using sidereal time it is possible to easily point a telescope to the proper coordinates in the night sky.
You may have heard the terms arc-minute and arc-second mentioned on the TV, magazines or other websites. These are the units of measurement for angular size used in modern astronomy. Angular size is used to describe the dimensions of an object as it appears in the sky.
In Astronomy, parallax is a method used to determine the distance to the closest stars. This technique for measuring astronomical distances is very important because it is a geometric method and independent of the object being observed.
The most fundamental property that any astronomer needs to know is our place in the heavens and the position of astronomical objects that lie on the surface of the celestial sphere. We will look at the Celestial Sphere, the ecliptic and how to locate objects using Right Ascension and Declination.