An Education in Science


A Look at Astronomy

Studying the stars has been done for more than two hundred centuries, and ancient civilizations have handed down the names of constellations over the generations. While modern man has created telescopes that can see galaxies thousand of light years away, ancient shepherds studied the night skies with only their naked eyes. They grouped stars according to what they saw, and many of those constellations are still recognized in the modern world.

While learning the names and stories behind the constellations is interesting, it is not exactly what modern astronomy classes teach their students. There are many components to studying the universe surrounding the planet, and this is the basis of the course material they will have to learn if they want to know how the stars stay in the sky. Mathematics is an important part of learning about astronomy, and it is a challenge students must meet if they wish to complete any course in this subject. Learning how the planets, moons and stars of the galaxy interact can be done best with math, so that is the reason it is an integral part of studying astronomy.

Discovering new moons, planets and galaxies is all part of the world of astronomy today. Those who study it must learn the physical laws that control how gravity and light affect the universe. There are also mechanics involved as most new discoveries are done with very powerful telescopes. Knowing how to build one is part of the class curriculum, but knowing how to calculate the gravitational effects on light and matter are usually a more important part of the information.

There are many interesting facets to astronomy for modern students, and taking even a basic class is worthwhile for those with an interest in the stars. Going on to study the subject as a major takes a keen mind, excellent mathematical skills and a willingness to look far into the sky as the sun sinks at the end of the day.