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3 | The Birth of Modern Astronomy

What is Modern Astronomy? Period- is the time it takes to make one complete revolution around the sun. The
Astronomy is the scientific study of celestial objects and phenomena that originate period of other planets is usually compared to that of the Earth, which is a year-
outside the Earth’s atmosphere. is equal to 365.25 days.

It is concerned with the evolution, physics, chemistry, meteorology, and motion of Galileo Galilei’s Astronomical Observations
celestial objects, as well as the formation and development of the universe. Galileo, upon hearing Hans Lippershey’s invention, made his own
Who are the Pioneers of Modern Astronomy? The following are some of the things he saw with his telescope, all of which greatly
Nicolaus Copernicus contradicted the models of Ptolemy and Aristotle and provide new data that
Tycho Brahe supported the Copernican model:
Johannes Kepler  The moon ha mountains, valleys , and craters, suggesting that the moon is
Galileo Galilei not so different from the Earth, implying that something in celestial realm is
Sir Isaac Newton barely distinguishable from objects that belong to the terrestrial realm.
 The surface of the sun has some blemishes, which are now called sunspots,
The Birth of Modern Astronomy contradicting the Greek concept of the sun as being perfect celestial bodies.
 Jupiter has four moons revolving around it.
Tycho Brahe’s Universe  Venus has phases similar to those of the moon.
 Many stars too faint to be seen by the naked eye became visie with his
Tycho Brahe was considered the last and greatest astronomer prior to the telescope.
invention of the telescope. o Milky Way was simply made of individual stars.
He established his own observatory at the age of 30.
In his observatory, he accurately measured and recorded the positions of the The Analemma
sun, the moon, and the planets. When viewed from a fixed position on earth, the sun does not occupy the
His data did not fit into the models of Ptolemy and Copernicus so he sameposition in the sky at the same time every day in a year due to the ff reasons:
proposed is own model of the universe where the Sun orbited the Earth, Earth’s axis is tilted 23.5 degrees from the planet of its orbit around the sun.
while the other planets orbited the Sun. Earth rotates about its axis once a day as it revolves around the sun once
every 365.25 days.
Johannes Kepler’s Laws of Planetary Motion Earth’s orbit is elliptical. Earth moves fastest at the perihelion and slowest
He served as an assistant to Tycho Brahe. at the aphelion.
He inherited the numerous observational data on planetary motion when The plot of the position of the sun as viewe from the fixed position on earth at the
Brahe died. same time every day in a year is called Analemma.
He was able to formulate his three laws of planetary motion using Brahe’s
extensive data on Mars The Solar System Today
First Law: Law of Ellipses The solar system is now viewed as consisting of 8 planets, with Sun as its
States that the planets move in ellipses having a common focus situated at center, and the planets revolve around the sun while rotating.
the sun; the other focus is empty; the closest point to the sun in a planet’s orbit is The solar system is made up of zones:
the perihelion, the farthest is the aphelion. Innermost zones- occupied by the terrestrial planets (Mercury, Venus,
Second Law: Law of Equal Areas Earth, Mars). These planets are rocky, metallic and comparatively small.
States that the planets move around the sun in such a way that a line drawn from Asteroid belt- leftover rocks from the formation of the solar system can be
the sun to the planet sweeps out equal areas in equal intervals of time. The found.
planet moves fastest at the perihelion and slowest at the aphelion. Kuiper Belt- beyond the orbit of Neptune. Consists of small celestial bodies.
Third Law: Law of Harmonies Pluto, which used to be a planet, is now classified as a “dwarf planet.”
States that the squares of the periods of the planets are proportional to the cubes Ceres, Haumea, Makemake, Eris- dwarf planets aside from Jupiter.
of their mean distances from the sun.