Astronomy is one of the oldest sciences in the world and it is thought to date back to the Ancient Greeks. This science is concerned with studying objects and phenomena such as planets, stars, comets and galaxies. It also takes responsibility for working out wider issues such as how the universe was physically formed and how celestial objects develop.
Astronomy has been used for centuries both in study and for practical purposes. Early navigators, for example, would use the night sky as a navigational aid. The invention of the telescope really moved astronomy on as it gave astronomers the ability to see further and to examine objects and phenomena in more detail. Nowadays, even amateur astronomers can examine the night sky in detail with a simple home telescope (and may even discover something that the scientists don't spot along the way!).
There are various branches within the astronomy world. For example:
- Astrometrists look at the distances between objects in the universe.
- Cosmologists look at the universe as a whole.
- Planetologists concentrate on studying planets.
- Radio astronomers specialise in using radio telescopes in their studies.
- Mathematical astronomers use maths to understand the universe.