Astronomy/ Cosmology

Astronomy/ Cosmology

Astronomy, science that encompasses the study of all extraterrestrial objects and phenomena. Until the invention of the telescope and the discovery of the laws of motion and gravity in the 17th century, astronomy was primarily concerned with noting and predicting the positions of the Sun, Moon, and planets, originally for calendrical and astrological purposes and later for navigational uses and scientific interest. The catalog of objects now studied is much broader and includes, in order of increasing distance, the solar system, the stars that make up the Milky Way Galaxy, and other, more distant galaxies. With the advent of scientific space probes, Earth also has come to be studied as one of the planets, though its more-detailed investigation remains the domain of the Earth sciences.



Cosmology, field of study that brings together the natural sciences, particularly astronomy and physics, in a joint effort to understand the physical universe as a unified whole.

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    Radio astronomy
    Radio astronomy uses radiation with wavelengths greater than approximately one millimeter, outside the visible range. Radio astronomy is different from most other forms of observational astronomy in that the observed radio waves can be treated as waves rather than as discrete photons.

    Infrared astronomy
    Infrared astronomy is founded on the detection and analysis of infrared radiation, wavelengths longer than red light and outside the range of our vision. The infrared spectrum is useful for studying objects that are too cold to radiate visible light, such as planets, circumstellar disks or nebulae whose light is blocked by dust.

    Optical astronomy
    Optical astronomy, also called visible light astronomy, is the oldest form of astronomy. Images of observations were originally drawn by hand. In the late 19th century and most of the 20th century, images were made using photographic equipment.

    Ultraviolet astronomy
    Ultraviolet astronomy employs ultraviolet wavelengths between approximately 100 and 3200 Å (10 to 320 nm). Light at those wavelengths is absorbed by the Earth's atmosphere, requiring observations at these wavelengths to be performed from the upper atmosphere or from space.

    X-ray astronomy
    X-ray astronomy uses X-ray wavelengths. Typically, X-ray radiation is produced by synchrotron emission (the result of electrons orbiting magnetic field lines), thermal emission from thin gases above 107 (10 million) kelvins, and thermal emission from thick gases above 107 Kelvin.

    Gamma-ray astronomy
    Gamma ray astronomy observes astronomical objects at the shortest wavelengths of the electromagnetic spectrum. Gamma rays may be observed directly by satellites such as the Compton Gamma Ray Observatory or by specialized telescopes called atmospheric Cherenkov telescopes.

    Fields not based on the electromagnetic spectrum
    In addition to electromagnetic radiation, a few other events originating from great distances may be observed from the Earth. In neutrino astronomy, astronomers use heavily shielded underground facilities such as SAGE, GALLEX, and Kamioka II/III for the detection of neutrinos.

    Astrometry and celestial mechanics
    One of the oldest fields in astronomy, and in all of science, is the measurement of the positions of celestial objects. Historically, accurate knowledge of the positions of the Sun, Moon, planets and stars has been essential in celestial navigation (the use of celestial objects to guide navigation) and in the making of calendars. target="_blank" style="text-decoration: underline">
    Radio astronomy
    Radio astronomy uses radiation with wavelengths greater than approximately one millimeter, outside the visible range. Radio astronomy is different from most other forms of observational astronomy in that the observed radio waves can be treated as waves rather than as discrete photons.

    Infrared astronomy
    Infrared astronomy is founded on the detection and analysis of infrared radiation, wavelengths longer than red light and outside the range of our vision. The infrared spectrum is useful for studying objects that are too cold to radiate visible light, such as planets, circumstellar disks or nebulae whose light is blocked by dust.

    Optical astronomy
    Optical astronomy, also called visible light astronomy, is the oldest form of astronomy. Images of observations were originally drawn by hand. In the late 19th century and most of the 20th century, images were made using photographic equipment.

    Ultraviolet astronomy
    Ultraviolet astronomy employs ultraviolet wavelengths between approximately 100 and 3200 Å (10 to 320 nm). Light at those wavelengths is absorbed by the Earth's atmosphere, requiring observations at these wavelengths to be performed from the upper atmosphere or from space.

    X-ray astronomy
    X-ray astronomy uses X-ray wavelengths. Typically, X-ray radiation is produced by synchrotron emission (the result of electrons orbiting magnetic field lines), thermal emission from thin gases above 107 (10 million) kelvins, and thermal emission from thick gases above 107 Kelvin.

    Gamma-ray astronomy
    Gamma ray astronomy observes astronomical objects at the shortest wavelengths of the electromagnetic spectrum. Gamma rays may be observed directly by satellites such as the Compton Gamma Ray Observatory or by specialized telescopes called atmospheric Cherenkov telescopes.

    Fields not based on the electromagnetic spectrum
    In addition to electromagnetic radiation, a few other events originating from great distances may be observed from the Earth. In neutrino astronomy, astronomers use heavily shielded underground facilities such as SAGE, GALLEX, and Kamioka II/III for the detection of neutrinos.

    Astrometry and celestial mechanics
    One of the oldest fields in astronomy, and in all of science, is the measurement of the positions of celestial objects. Historically, accurate knowledge of the positions of the Sun, Moon, planets and stars has been essential in celestial navigation (the use of celestial objects to guide navigation) and in the making of calendars.