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Branches of Astronomy

As currently discussed, astronomy is divided right into 2 branches: astronomy of observation and academic astronomy

Monitoring astronomy concentrates on obtaining info and also assessing information using the fundamental physical principles. Academic astronomy is oriented to the growth of analytical computer system designs to define things as well as expensive sensations.

Both fields of astronomy enhance each other, to ensure that theoretical astronomy is accountable for seeking a description for the outcomes of astronomy monitoring.

Also, empirical astronomy is used to confirm the results offered by theoretical astronomy (Physics, 2015).

Starting astronomers have contributed many crucial expensive explorations. By doing this, astronomy is thought about one of the few sciences where beginning researchers could play an active and essential function, especially in the discovery and also observation of transient phenomena (Daily, 2016).

Observation Astronomy.

Observation astronomy is the field of astronomy that concentrates on the direct study of stars, earths, galaxies and also any kind of kind of celestial sphere of deep space.

For this field, astronomy makes use of the telescope, nevertheless, the first astronomers observed the celestial spheres with no aid.

The modern-day constellations were developed by the initial astronomers from the monitoring of the evening sky. In this means, 5 earths of the solar system were recognized (Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn) as well as the modern-day constellations were proposed.

Modern telescopes (reflectors and also refractors) were created to expose in better information exactly what could be discovered with the naked eye (California, 2002).

Theoretical Astronomy

Academic astronomy is the branch of astronomy that permits to assess the method which the systems have actually progressed.

Unlike numerous various other areas of scientific research, astronomers can not observe any kind of system totally from the moment it is born to the one that dies. The beginning of worlds, stars as well as galaxies go back to millions (even billions) of years back.

For that reason, astronomers need to depend on pictures of celestial spheres in various evolutionary states to determine how they were created, advanced, as well as died.

In this method, academic astronomy has the tendency to mingle with monitoring, as it takes information from it to produce simulations.

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Black Holes – Strange Entities in Space

Regardless of its name, a black hole is a huge amount of matter and energy, packed up in a small space. They are the most fascinating and weirdest things of the outer space. The density and gravitational force is so strong that nothing, even the light, can escape its attraction.

Formation

Black holes are the cold remnants of big stars. When a star reaches the final stage, it undergoes a massive explosion. As a result of it, most of the matter of the star scatter into space, but a large and cold part is left behind where no more fusion takes place.

In a star, the process of nuclear fusion produces energy and an outward pressure that counter the inward gravitational pull of the star. As a result of the explosion, the cold remnant is left with gravitational pull only. This gravitational pull forces the star to collapse upon it, resulting in an object of large mass and infinite density with zero volume. The high gravitational pull blocks the light in its orbit thus making it a dark star, known as a black hole. The mass of a black hole is ten times the mass of the sun, packed in space equal to a big city. As the light is trapped in their orbit, hence, black holes are not visible. However, there are other methods scientists use to detect its presence. Special tools are used to find black holes with the help of space telescopes. These special tools help to study how stars around black holes act differently as compared to other stars.

Structure

Black holes have complex structure and properties that are difficult to understand. The main structure of it is described here. A black hole consists of two layers important to be mentioned:

  1. Event Horizon

The event horizon is the point that makes the boundary around the mouth of black holes. The event horizon is that point which a particle once cross can never go back.

  1. Singularity

It is the single point where all the mass of the black hole is concentrated, and the space-time curvature becomes infinite.

Types

Black holes vary in sizes. According to the scientist the smallest black hole can be of the size of an atom, but with the amount of mass equal to a giant mountain. The gravitational pull makes it shrink in size despite large mass. There are three types of black holes according to their sizes:

  1. Supermassive Black Holes

These are the largest and are usually found in the centres of galaxies. Our Milky Way also has a supermassive black hole. Scientists are still completely not sure of their formation process, but according to the theory, they were formed during the formation of galaxies. As they are placed in the centre of galaxies, between tightly

 

packed stars and gas clouds, they continue eating up the matter and growing up. There is another theory that they might have formed as a result of merging of thousands of tiny black holes together.

  1. Steller Black Holes

These are the ones formed as a result of massive star collapse. They usually have a mass of three times of sun or even more than that packed in a big city-sized area. Hence the gravitational pull is very strong. They also consume dust and gases from nearby galaxies.

  1. Miniature Black Holes

Although none of their kind has been discovered yet, scientist believed them to be formed as a result of the Big Bang. As per the theory, they have a small mass, even less than the sun.

History

Though the term “Black Hole” was coined by John Wheeler in 1967 and the first was discovered in 1971, the

concept is much older than that. John Michelle was the first one to propose something resembling a Black Hole in 1783-84, but the theory was proved to be wrong later on. However, the theory of General Relativity, developed by Albert Einstein in 1915, describes a lot about the Black Hole phenomenon and is widely accepted by modern

scientists.

Danger to Earth

One might wonder whether Earth has some danger from these Black Holes or not? Well, the fact is that there is no black hole near earth close enough. Even if a black hole replaces the sun, still its gravitational force will be equal to what the sun has now. The earth can cancel out its gravitational force just the way it does to the sun and will keep orbiting around it. However, the sun is not a star big enough to turn into a black hole.

Misconceptions

Where the world of fiction has helped people understanding the concept of black holes through the move, there prevail some misconceptions about it as well. The concept of tunnels and wormholes that take you rapidly through space and time do not evidently exist in reality.

 

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A Brief History of NASA

At this day, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is undoubtedly the leading civilian agency of the world in space exploration. The journey from its birth to today carries a series of incidents behind it. Through its robotic spacecraft, it has studied the various areas and aspects of earth, visited other planets, imaged the various wavelengths of the universe, etc. It has to lead the astronauts to reveal the cosmos of space, built International Space Station, set foot on the moon and much more. We know a lot about the various contributions NASA has made to space exploration, but many are unaware of how the agency came into being.

Creation

It will not be wrong to say that the establishment of NASA was the need of that time. After World War II, the United States and the Soviet Union were still in the competition. Though the war had stopped, it was still there in the form of cold war between them. On October 4, 1957, Soviet Union launched their first satellite in space, Sputnik I, to orbit around the earth. The basketball sized satellite weighed 183 pounds and took 98 minutes to complete its orbit. The US who were at the front of technology were taken aback with shock at this launch. By launching the satellite, Soviet became a threat for them as with this technology; it might be able to send nuclear missiles to the US.

Just after one month, on November 3, 1957, they launched another satellite, Sputnik II, with a dog, Laika, into it. The America sped up their efforts and finally launched their first successful satellite in space, Explorer I, on January 31, 1958. On July 29, 1958, Congress passed the National Aeronautics and Space Act, giving birth to the new agency and disestablishing the old National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics. However, it started operating on October 1, 1958. It had to be the federal space agency to conduct non-military space activities.

Objectives

Following were the objectives stated in section 102 of the Space Act:

  • To expand human knowledge about the atmospheric and space phenomenon.
  • To improve the performance, safety, usefulness, efficiency and speed of aeronautical and space aircraft.
  • Developing and operate vehicles capable enough to carry equipment, instruments, supplies and living organisms in space.
  • Establishing long-ranged studies to get benefit from aeronautical and space activities, for peaceful purposes.
  • To preserve the role of US as the leader in aeronautics and space science and technology, and application of the knowledge to conduct experiments inside and outside the atmosphere for peaceful purposes.

Initial Achievements

During the first twenty years of its creation, NASA conducted the following important programs:

  • Human space flight initiatives to explore whether a human can survive in space or not.
  • Robotic missions to Moon, Venus, Mars and few outer planets.
  • Astronautic researchers to improve the efficiency, reliability, speed and safety of air transport.
  • Remote-sensing earth satellites.
  • Application satellites to communicate and for weather monitoring.
  • Establishment of Skylab, an orbital workshop for astronauts.
  • Development of space shuttle, which a reusable spacecraft to travel to and from earth’s orbit.

Project Mercury

The first high profile project of NASA to involve human spaceflight was projected mercury.it was to determine whether humans can survive in space or not. Alan B. Shephard Jr. gained the privilege to be the first American to fly in space on May 5, 1962. He was sent on a 15 minutes suborbital mission in his mercury capsule. On February 20, 1962, John H. Glenn Jr. orbit the earth, being the first US astronaut to do so. The project mercury went successfully with successful earth orbiting and then retrieving the astronauts back to earth safely.

Moon Landing Conspiracy

On May 25, 1961, the speech of President John F. Kennedy motivated the NASA astronauts to carry out the project Apollo to set foot on Earth’s moon. Among one of the many privileges NASA has, is to send a first human, Neil Armstrong, to set foot on the moon, on July 20, 1969, in Apollo 11. But his “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind” gained the status of a big controversy for almost 40 years. It was claimed Apollo program, and the five other manned moon landing was faked by NASA. Various individuals have claimed that no astronauts have walked on the moon, rather it has been faked to mislead people to win the space war by the US and to get increased funds for NASA.

These conspiracies remained in hot debate for almost four decades, until 2012, when the high definition photos of Apollo sites taken from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) were released. The photos showed the erected American flag on five out of six sites, placed there by the astronauts of Apollo missions.  The flag of Apollo 11 was accidentally blown over due to rocket take off and lay on the surface of the moon.

 

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Astronomy

What is astronomy?

Astronomy is the science of celestial objects, the space, and the universe as a whole. Astronomy studies the sun and the moon, along with the stars, comets, galaxies, dust, planets, gas, and all other bodies or phenomena that is non-Earthly. Astronomy has been around since the ancient times. For example, in 200 B.C. the Babylonians are known to of documented the positions of many stars and predicted events that would take place on earth. Astronomy is used in physics, mathematics, and chemistry, to help explain the evolution, origin, and phenomena of the object. Astronomy is split into two categories: observational and theoretical. Observational astronomy is when data is acquired from observing astronomical objects. Theoretical astronomy is the development of the computer models that describe astronomical phenomena. One cannot be used without the other due to the fact that one confirms the results of the other. In the beginning, astronomy was used to help predict that objects that could be seen moving. These observations are how we came about having seasons, when the right time is to plant a certain crop and understand the year and why some are longer. That also has explained the motion of the planets along with the Sun and Moon. At that time the Sun and Moon we believed to rotate around the Earth. Astronomy was used to estimate the size and the distance of the Sun and Moon.

What kind of astronomers study stars?

A stellar astronomer is an astronomer who studies the sun and stars. Stellar astronomers study how stars get their light and what they are made of. Stars are used to help determine the distance in the universe. They study novas and supernovas which are stars that just suddenly brighten. One problem stellar astronomers have a hard time in this field is the distance from Earth to the closest star. Many astronomers have helped in the documentation of stars throughout history. A well-known Polish astronomer is Nicolas Copernicus the reason is he discovered that the Sun is the center of the universe instead of the Earth. An astronomer named Hipparchus documented 1020 stars and almost all the constellations in the northern hemisphere. The number of stars in the universe will always change. The naked eye is thought to be able to see about 6,000 stars on an average night. The northern hemisphere the number dramatically drops to 3,000. The reason this is because of no matter where you are you are never going to see the whole sky. Another well-known astronomer is Nicolas-Louis de Lacaille he documented 9,766 stars in just eleven months. He invented fourteen constellations that are still recognized today but are made from very faint stars. One that is still seen in the sky today is the Air Pump that he created around 1750. This constellation is now known as Pump. Although believed to be the same stars and constellations are very different. Stars are balls of plasma that lets off light because of nuclear fusion and its gravity holds it together. A constellation is a group of stars that have a certain region in the sky and create an image if created by a line.  A star moves, unlike a constellation.

What are constellations?

Constellations are a group of stars that are in a pattern. They usually represent mythological gods or creatures, animals, or manufactured devices. Over 2500 years ago the Greeks identified the first constellation. Constellations vary from night to night due to the rotation of Earth allowing them to be used to help determine a season. Constellations have changed in size and shapes through the years and others have disappeared while others are only used by certain cultures. There are eighty-eight constellations that are named and most known. The largest constellation is Hydra; it is named after the multi-headed sea serpent that Hercules encounters. The most known constellation is called the Ursa Major which contains the Big Dipper. The constellations are separated into the southern and northern sky. The constellations in the northern sky are from Classic Greek legends. The southern constellations are modern inventions. Each constellation is different in size and shape. After the telescope astronomers have documented so that they can be used to navigate in the 14th to 16th century by sea travelers. Around the Milky Way is a dark cloud constellation that looks to be an emu. There are twelve constellations that are known as the zodiac signs that date back to prehistory. Although believed to be the same stars and constellations are very different. Stars are balls of plasma that lets off light because of nuclear fusion and its gravity holds it together. A constellation is a group of stars that have a certain region in the sky and create an image if created by a line. A star moves, unlike a constellation.

What is the relationship between constellations and the zodiac signs?

The zodiac signs are the constellations that mark the path the sun travels throughout the year. The zodiac signs use to align with the sun. For example, Aries is the zodiac sign for March 21 through April 19 which would mean the sun would appear in this sign through these dates. This has changed because of the way that we have determined the time, such as a year is 364 days and not 364.25 days. Also, the signs are not equal signs and shape. Most of the today’s constellations are more known to the Greek culture. Although we only use twelve zodiac signs there are actually thirteen signs that the sun travels through. The thirteen signs are:

  • Capricorn
  • Aquarius
  • Pisces
  • Aries
  • Taurus
  • Gemini
  • Cancer
  • Leo
  • Virgo
  • Libra
  • Scorpio
  • Ophiuchus
  • Sagittarius

The thirteenth sign is known as the Ophiuchus, or the Serpent Bearer, it sits between Sagittarius and Scorpius. The zodiac signs are great to help understand the orbits of the Sun, Earth, and Moon. The zodiac signs are all based on of Earth bound elements such as air (Gemini, Libra, and Aquarius), fire (Aries, Leo, and Sagittarius), water (Cancer, Scorpio, and Pisces), and earth (Taurus, Virgo, and Capricorn).

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