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