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History of Astronomy - Script and Answer Key

History of Astronomy - Script and Answer Key

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Published by Adam Simpson

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Published by: Adam Simpson on Sep 13, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Astronomy – Script and Answer Key
Astronomy is the study of outer space and everything in it. This includes stars, planetsand galaxies as well as other things. The word astronomy comes from the Greek words
which means star and
which means law. A person who studies astronomyis called an astronomer.Astronomy is one of the oldest sciences. (1) Ancient people used the positions of thestars to navigate, and to find when was the best time to plant crops. Astronomy is verysimilar to astrophysics. Since the 20th century there have been two main types of astronomy,
astronomy. (2) Observational astronomy usestelescopes and cameras to
or look at stars, galaxies and other astronomicalobjects. Theoretical astronomy uses maths and computer models to predict what shouldhappen. The two often work together, the theoretical predicts what should happen andthe observational shows whether the prediction works.Astronomy is not the same as
, the belief that the patterns the stars and theplanets make affect human lives.
History of AstronomyAncient
Early astronomers used only their eyes to look at the stars. (3) They used maps of thestars for religious reasons and also to work out the time of year. Early civilizations suchas the Maya people and the Ancient Egyptians built simple observatories and drewmaps of the stars positions. They also began to think about the place of Earth in theuniverse. (4) For a long time people thought Earth was the center of the universe, andthat the planets, the stars and the sun went around it. This is known as the
 model of the Universe.Arabic astronomers made many advancements during the Middle Ages includingimproved star maps and ways to estimate the size of the Earth.
Copernicus, Galileo and the Heliocentric Model
During the renaissance an astronomer named Nicolaus Copernicus thought of a newidea. He thought, from looking at the way the planets moved, that the Earth was not thecenter of the Solar System. He said, and he was right, (5) that the Sun was at the centreof the Solar System and all the planets including Earth moved around it. This is known asa
model. Another astronomer called Galileo Galilei built his own telescope,and used it to look more closely at the stars and planets for the first time. What he sawbacked up Copernicus' idea. Their ideas were also improved by Johannes Kepler andIsaac Newton who came up with the theory of gravity. (6) At this time the Christian
church decided that Galileo was wrong. The Pope gave the order to lock Galileo up in hishouse and they did not let him write any more books until he died.
Renaissance to Modern Era
After Galileo, people used telescopes more often and began to see farther-away objectssuch as the planets Uranus and Neptune. They also saw how stars were similar to ourSun, but in a range of colours and sizes. They also saw thousands of other farawayobjects such as galaxies and nebulae.
Modern Era
The 20th century saw important changes in astronomy.(7) In 1931, Karl Jansky discovered radio emission from outside the Earth when trying toisolate a source of noise in radio communications, marking the birth of radio astronomyand the first attempts at using another part of the electromagnetic spectrum to observethe sky. Those parts of the electromagnetic spectrum that the atmosphere did not blockwere now opened up to astronomy, allowing more discoveries to be made.The opening of this new window on the Universe saw the discovery of entirely newthings, for example pulsars, which sent regular pulses of radio waves out into space. (8)The waves were first thought to be alien in origin because the pulses were so regularthat it implied an artificial source.The period after World War 2 saw the rise of dedicated observatories, where large andaccurate telescopes are built and operated at good observing sites, normally bygovernments. For example, radio astronomy started out of leftover military equipmentat Jodrell Bank after the war. By 1957, the site had the largest steerable radio telescopein the world. Similarly, the end of the 1960s saw the start of (9) the building of dedicated observatories at Mauna Kea in Hawaii, a good site for visible and infra-redtelescopes thanks to its high altitude and clear skies. Mauna Kea would eventually cometo host very large and very accurate telescopes like the Keck Observatory with its 10-meter mirror.The next great revolution in astronomy was thanks to the birth of rocketry. This allowedtelescopes to be placed in space on satellites (such as those that beam satellitetelevision).Satellite-based telescopes opened up the Universe to human eyes. Turbulence in theEarth's atmosphere blurs images taken by ground-based telescopes, an effect known asseeing. It is this effect that makes stars "twinkle" in the sky. As a result, the picturestaken by satellite telescopes in visible light (for example, by the Hubble Space Telescope)

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