Portal:Astronomy
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Portal:Astronomy
The Astronomy Portal

Introduction

A man sitting on a chair mounted to a moving platform, staring through a large telescope.

Astronomy (from Ancient Greek ? (astronomía) 'science that studies the laws of the stars') is a natural science that studies celestial objects and phenomena. It uses mathematics, physics, and chemistry in order to explain their origin and evolution. Objects of interest include planets, moons, stars, nebulae, galaxies, and comets. Relevant phenomena include supernova explosions, gamma ray bursts, quasars, blazars, pulsars, and cosmic microwave background radiation. More generally, astronomy studies everything that originates beyond Earth's atmosphere. Cosmology is a branch of astronomy that studies the universe as a whole.

Astronomy is one of the oldest natural sciences. The early civilizations in recorded history made methodical observations of the night sky. These include the Babylonians, Greeks, Indians, Egyptians, Chinese, Maya, and many ancient indigenous peoples of the Americas. In the past, astronomy included disciplines as diverse as astrometry, celestial navigation, observational astronomy, and the making of calendars. Nowadays, professional astronomy is often said to be the same as astrophysics.

Professional astronomy is split into observational and theoretical branches. Observational astronomy is focused on acquiring data from observations of astronomical objects. This data is then analyzed using basic principles of physics. Theoretical astronomy is oriented toward the development of computer or analytical models to describe astronomical objects and phenomena. These two fields complement each other. Theoretical astronomy seeks to explain observational results and observations are used to confirm theoretical results.

Astronomy is one of the few sciences in which amateurs play an active role. This is especially true for the discovery and observation of transient events. Amateur astronomers have helped with many important discoveries, such as finding new comets. (Full article...)

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Saturn is the sixth planet from the Sun and the second-largest in the Solar System, after Jupiter. It is a gas giant with an average radius of about nine and a half times that of Earth. It has only one-eighth the average density of Earth; however, with its larger volume, Saturn is over 95 times more massive.

Saturn's interior is most likely composed of a core of iron-nickel and rock (silicon and oxygen compounds). Its core is surrounded by a deep layer of metallic hydrogen, an intermediate layer of liquid hydrogen and liquid helium, and finally, a gaseous outer layer. Saturn has a pale yellow hue due to ammonia crystals in its upper atmosphere. An electrical current within the metallic hydrogen layer is thought to give rise to Saturn's planetary magnetic field, which is weaker than Earth's, but which has a magnetic moment 580 times that of Earth due to Saturn's larger size. Saturn's magnetic field strength is around one-twentieth of Jupiter's. The outer atmosphere is generally bland and lacking in contrast, although long-lived features can appear. Wind speeds on Saturn can reach 1,800 km/h (1,100 mph; 500 m/s), higher than on Jupiter but not as high as on Neptune. (Full article...)

More Did you know (auto generated)

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  • ... that Jessen's icosahedron has been used for both the "Skwish" children's toy and a NASA proposal for a "super ball bot" to cushion space landers on other planets?
  • ... that Nandivada Rathnasree, who ran Delhi's planetarium, proposed that astronomers could be taught using India's stone-built observatories?
  • ... that it took five years of observations to find the planet orbiting the star HD 175167?
  • ... that pushbacks of migrants in the Aegean Sea have been described as "a human rights violation that encapsulates a will to eliminate a person's presence on the face of the planet"?
  • ... that in 1948 and 1952, nuclear physicist Leslie Shepherd published scientific papers on the use of nuclear technology for interplanetary and interstellar space travel?
  • ... that the producers of The Jet Propelled Couch hired "Miss Color TV", Vampira, and several Miss Americas to portray attractive creatures inhabiting an imaginary planet?

WikiProjects

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NGC2682 - SDSS DR14 (panorama).jpg
Credit: Sloan Digital Sky Survey

Messier 67 (also known as M67 or NGC 2682) is an open cluster in the southern, equatorial half of Cancer. It was discovered by Johann Gottfried Koehler in 1779. Image of Messier 67 (SDSS, optical and near-infrared).

Astronomy News

26 April 2022 -
In the morning, the Moon, Jupiter, and Venus are seen aligning with each other. (Space.com)
4 April 2022 - Discoveries of exoplanets
Astronomers announce the discovery of K2-2016-BLG-0005Lb, an exoplanet that is said to resemble Jupiter. The discovery was made using the now-retired Kepler space telescope. (ScienceAlert)
30 March 2022 -
The Hubble Space Telescope observes the most distant single star ever. The star, named Earendel by astronomers, is 28 billion light-years away. It is the farthest detection of a star, dating back 900 million years after the Big Bang. This discovery surpasses Hubble's record from 2018, when it discovered a star that existed when the universe was roughly four billion years old. (CNN)
21 March 2022 - Discoveries of exoplanets
NASA announces that they have discovered their 5000th exoplanet since 1992, when astronomers Aleksander Wolszczan and Dale Frail announced the discovery of two exoplanets orbiting PSR B1257+12. (Science News)

August anniversaries

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Astronomical events

All times UT unless otherwise specified. Portal:Astronomy/Events/August 2022

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  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.

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