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Astronomy compels the soul to look upwards and leads us from this world to another.

Introduction to Astronomy

How to get started as an astronomer

By , Written on in Astronomy

Introduction to Astronomy

219 words, estimated reading time 1 minutes.

Astronomy is an endlessly fascinating field, the oldest of the natural sciences, and one of the few areas of science that amateurs can assist the professionals and contribute to science.
 
Introduction to Astronomy Series
  1. Introduction to Astronomy
  2. The Celestial Sphere - Right Ascension and Declination
  3. What is Angular Size?
  4. What is the Milky Way?
  5. The Magnitude Scale
  6. Sidereal Time, Civil Time and Solar Time
  7. Equinoxes and Solstices
  8. Parallax, Distance and Parsecs
  9. Flux
  10. Luminosity of Stars
  11. Apparent Magnitude, Absolute Magnitude and Distance
  12. Variable Stars
  13. Spectroscopy and Spectrometry
  14. Redshift and Blueshift
  15. Spectral Classification of Stars
  16. Hertzsprung-Russell Diagram
  17. Kepler's Laws of Planetary Motion
  18. The Lagrange Points
  19. What is an Exoplanet?
  20. Glossary of Astronomy & Photographic Terms

This tutorial series covers the basics of modern astronomy as a science, including the structure and evolution of planets, stars, galaxies, and the Universe as a whole. We will look at observational astronomy, the magnitude scale, spectroscopy and celestial mechanics.

What is Astronomy?

Astronomy as a science began tens of thousands of years ago by tracking the motion of the Sun, Moon, planets, and stars. It has since developed into a sophisticated study of the fundamental laws of nature governing these phenomena.

The first observations of the heavens were conducted by our early human ancestors. Historical records of astronomical measurements date back as far as Mesopotamia nearly 5000 years ago, with later observations made by the ancient Chinese, Babylonians, and Greeks.

Astronomy is more than simply a mapping of stars and planets into outlines of gods and magical creatures. It is the scientific study of the contents of entire Universe, stars, planets, comets, asteroids, galaxies, and space and time, as well as its history.

If you're starting out by looking at the sky at night, I have an excellent observational astronomy tutorial series that takes you through what you can see at night as well as some equipment advice. This tutorial series covers mainly theory about how the universe works.

Artists concept of the Milky Way galaxy
Image Credit: Nick Risinger
Artists concept of the Milky Way galaxy

Last updated on: Tuesday 20th June 2017

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