Topic outline of astronomy

Topic outline of astronomy

Astronomy is the science of celestial objects ("e.g.", stars, planets, comets, and galaxies) and phenomena that originate outside the Earth's atmosphere. It is concerned with the evolution, physics, chemistry, meteorology, and motion of celestial objects, as well as the formation and development of the universe. Astronomy is one of the oldest sciences. Astronomers of early civilizations performed methodical observations of the night sky, and astronomical artifacts have been found from much earlier periods. However, astronomy did not develop into a modern science until after the telescope was invented. The following outline is provided as an overview of and introduction to astronomy.

Essence of astronomy

: "Main article: Astronomy"

Relation to astrophysics

The subjects of astronomy and astrophysics are very large and closely related, too overlaid and intertwined in almost all their branches for either to be considered subordinate to the other. "Astronomy" is the ancient subject, concerning the observations of bodies beyond the Earth (and also with timekeeping and calendar maintenance), together with the meaning of those observations and our understanding of the nature of those bodies. "Astrophysics" is much more recent. The basic understanding of the movement of celestial bodies, and its essential connection with earthly natural science, or physics, dates from the work of Galileo and Isaac Newton. The realization that the light of stars could be analyzed for clues about their physical nature, such as mass, size, temperature, composition, age, and evolution, began with the development of optical spectroscopy in the mid-19th century.

Thus "uninterpreted observation" may be considered as closest to pure astronomy, whereas physical modeling of the Universe, from comets and asteroids to the Sun, planets and stars, to cosmology and the Big Bang, becomes more nearly "pure astrophysics" (if indeed such a subject exists apart from speculation) the more it is concerned with laboratory and theoretical physics, and the more detached from observation. As astronomy has taught us a great deal about physics, so has physics (and its related fields, from mathematics to chemistry, and perhaps soon to include biology) proved essential to our understanding of astronomy.

Branches of astronomy

General astrophysics is the study of physics of the universe, including the physical properties (luminosity, density, temperature, chemical composition) of astronomical objects. Theoretical astrophysics seeks to explain and model the physical properties of the universe using the laws of physics and the physical sciences.

General techniques for astronomical research are also convenient ways of dividing the field:

* Photometry - the study of how bright celestial objects are when passed through different filters
* Spectroscopy - the study of the spectra of astronomical objects
* Astrometry - the study of the position of objects in the sky and their changes of position. Defines the system of coordinates used and the kinematics of objects in our galaxy.

Other disciplines that may be considered part of astronomy:
* Archaeoastronomy
* Astrochemistry

History of astronomy

: "Main article: History of astronomy"

Basic astronomy concepts

Basic phenomenon

Atmosphere | Celestial pole | Eclipse | Ecliptic | Cosmic rays | Kepler's laws | Doppler effect | Nutation | Orbit | Perturbation | Precession | Proper motion | Redshift | Solar eclipse | Tides | Zodiac

Instruments, measurement and units

Radio telescope | Telescope | Calendar | Astronomical Unit | Celestial coordinates | Parsec | Precession | Celestial mechanics | Solar time | Sidereal time


olar system

tars and stellar objects

Binary star | Cepheid variable | Flare star | HR Diagram | Nova | Star formation |


Clusters and nebulae

Interstellar matter | Nebula | Crab Nebula | Globular cluster | H I region | H II region | Open cluster | Orion nebula | Planetary nebula | Pleiades


Galaxy | Andromeda Galaxy | Magellanic Clouds | Quasar


Big Bang | Cosmic microwave background | Cosmos | Dark matter | Cosmic distance ladder | Hubble constant | Olber's paradox | Universe

pace exploration


AAVSO | AURA | IAU | ESA | JAXA | NASA | RAS | Webb Society

Books and publications

Almagest | Astronomia Nova | Astronomical Journal | Astrophysical Journal | BD Catalogue | De Revolutionibus | Henry Draper Catalogue | Isaac Asimov's Guide to Earth and Space | Messier Catalogue | New General Catalogue | Principia


Walter Baade | Friedrich Bessel | Tycho Brahe | Annie Jump Cannon | Alvan Clark | Nicholas Copernicus | Galileo | George Ellery Hale | William Herschel | Edwin Hubble | Jacobus Kapteyn | Johannes Kepler | Gerard Kuiper | Henrietta Leavitt | Isaac Newton | Edward C. Pickering | Ptolemy | Henry Norris Russell | Harlow Shapley

See also

External links

* [ Astronomy Guide] For reviews on astronomy products, how-to's and current events.
* [ Astronomy Net] Resources, forums (from 1995), articles on Astronomy.
* [ International Year of Astronomy 2009] IYA2009 Main website
* [ Cosmic Journey: A History of Scientific Cosmology] from the American Institute of Physics
* [ Astronomy Picture of the Day]
* [ Southern Hemisphere Astronomy]
* [ Sky & Telescope] publishers
* [ Astronomy Magazine]
* [ Latest astronomy news in 11 languages]
* [ Universe Today] for astronomy and space-related news
* [ Celestia Motherlode] Educational site for Astronomical journeys through space
* [ Search Engine for Astronomy]
* [ - home of NASA's Hubble Space Telescope]
* [ Astronomy - A History - G. Forbes - 1909 (eLibrary Project - eLib Text)]
* (historical)
* [ Prof. Sir Harry Kroto, NL] , Astrophysical Chemistry Lecture Series. 8 Freeview Lectures provided by the Vega Science Trust.
* [ Core books] and [ core journals] in Astronomy, from the Smithsonian/NASA Astrophysics Data System

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