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• What is Astronomy ?
• Astronomy is NOT Astrology
• Why do we study Astronomy ?
Astronomy - the scientific
study of the Universe
beyond Earth
Astronomy is a true science. It includes the
topics of the history of astronomy, human
space exploration, our Sun and Moon, planets,
other stars, galaxies, and cosmology (the
origin, structure, and fate of the whole
Astronomy is a True Science
• Astronomy is based on observations and
experiments that can be repeated, and that give the
same results no matter who does the experiment or
makes the observation.
• Astronomy makes precise predictions about our
Universe that can be tested to see if the predictions
are true or not.
• Astronomy makes use of other well-established
sciences like physics and chemistry.
Astrology is NOT a Science
• Seeks to discover “hidden knowledge” by
the interpretation of omens (like reading tea
• Results are not repeatable.
• Predictions are vague and not testable.
• Does not incorporate sciences like
chemistry and physics.
Astrology Predictions
for your Teacher
• Best accessory – hairbrush – they must be
• Perfect job – actor, cruise ship host – not.
• Travel destination – Singapore – I don’t
think so !
• “A special event is about to happen, and
you're at the center of it.” Awfully vague –
covers about everything. Worthless.
Why do we study Astronomy ?
Natural disasters
Recreation and esthetics
Scientific inquiry and curiosity
Education of an informed society (you !)
Our place in the Universe
Origin and fate of the Universe
• True Science versus science fiction
Natural Disasters
• Comet and meteorite impacts, for example.
Recreation and Esthetics
• The Universe is beautiful.
Scientific Inquiry and Curiosity
• For example – our instruments can see what
our eyes cannot.
• Space exploration.
Saturn – Different Kinds of Light
Saturn – Different Kinds of Light
Space Exploration
Education of an Informed Society
Our Place in the Universe
• Where are we?
12 ½ light years away
250 light years away
5 thousand light years away
50 thousand light years away
500 thousand light years away
5 million light years away
100 million light years away
1 billion light years away
14 billion light years away
Origin and Fate of the Universe
• This part of Astronomy is called
• Cosmology seeks a scientific explanation
for how the Universe began and how it
might end (or will it go on forever?).
The Beginning – The Big Bang
100 billion years
from now the
Universe will
appear frozen in
time as we look
out into space.
Only the light
from the Local
Group of galaxies
will remain
visible, if anyone
is still around to
see it.
True Science versus
Science Fiction
• Some astronomy stuff may be weird, BUT
Black Holes.
Radiation from the beginning of the Universe.
• Science fiction is just weird.
Favorite movies.
A Spinning Black Hole
Radiation from the Beginning of the
Universe 13.7 billion years ago