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 Greek: ?, literally meaning the 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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A model of the expanding universe opening up from the viewer's left, facing the viewer in a 3/4 pose.
Timeline of the metric expansion of space, where space, including hypothetical non-observable portions of the universe, is represented at each time by the circular sections. On the left, the dramatic expansion occurs in the inflationary epoch; and at the center, the expansion accelerates (artist's concept; not to scale).

The Big Bang theory is the prevailing cosmological model explaining the existence of the observable universe from the earliest known periods through its subsequent large-scale evolution. The model describes how the universe expanded from an initial state of high density and temperature, and offers a comprehensive explanation for a broad range of observed phenomena, including the abundance of light elements, the cosmic microwave background (CMB) radiation, and large-scale structure.

Crucially, the theory is compatible with Hubble-Lemaître law--the observation that the farther away a galaxy is, the faster it is moving away from Earth. Extrapolating this cosmic expansion backwards in time using the known laws of physics, the theory describes an increasingly concentrated cosmos preceded by a singularity in which space and time lose meaning (typically named "the Big Bang singularity"). Detailed measurements of the expansion rate of the universe place the Big Bang singularity at around 13.8 billion years ago, which is thus considered the age of the universe. (Full article...)

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Pólux B.jpg
Credit: Image from program Celestia (GNOME)

Pollux b is an extrasolar planet approximately 34 light-years away in the constellation of Gemini (the Twins). The planet has at least twice the mass of Jupiter.

Astronomy News

26 May 2021 - May 2021 lunar eclipse
A total lunar eclipse occurs, the second-shortest of the 21st century, with totality lasting for only 14 minutes. Nicknamed the Super Flower Blood Moon, the eclipse was visible over the Pacific Ocean and Oceania, with South and East Asia seeing the eclipse at moonrise, and the Americas seeing the eclipse at moonset. (Space.com)

September anniversaries

Space-related Portals

Astronomical events

All times UT unless otherwise specified.

6 September, 00:28 Mercury at aphelion
7 September, 00:52 New moon
8 September, 20:18 Conjunction of the Moon and Mercury
9 September, 00:17 Moon at perihelion
10 September, 02:08 Conjunction of the Moon and Venus
10 September Comet 4P/Faye at perihelion
11 September, 10:03 Moon at perigee
11 September, 19:10 Asteroid 2 Pallas at opposition
14 September, 03:55 Mercury at greatest eastern elongation
14 September, 08:12 Neptune at opposition
17 September, 02:33 Conjunction of the Moon and Saturn
18 September, 06:54 Conjunction of the Moon and Jupiter
18 September, 16:44 Moon at aphelion
20 September, 11:33 Mars at apogee
20 September, 23:54 Full moon
22 September, 19:14 Earth southward equinox
26 September, 21:43 Moon at apogee

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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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