THE BIRTHSimple. Just like every other great thing, astronomystarted out of boredom and curiosity. Cavemen who did nothing but hunt and eat, started observing the dynamic cosmos. This fascination along with our evolving brains lead to the birth the sciences. Depicted here is a cave painting of Taurus They tried to relate what they observed with their daily experiences. This here lead to the birth of constellations.
AND IT CRAWLS..With the spread of humanity all over the world,Civilizations spawned up like mushrooms of wonder. Vast observatories were built to mark important calendar events. Astronomy being patronized by rulers, grew by leaps and bounds. Soon, it turned into a formalized science. The very first.
Do not confuse astronomy with astrology.Astrology is the belief system which claimsthat human affairs are correlated with the positions of celestial objects. It is not scientifically endorsed.
IT LEARNS TO SIT..Based on the study of the periodic motion of the stars and planets, Claudius Ptolemy put forth his geocentric model. Our very own Aryabhatta studied the skies at the observatory atNalanda. He supposedly put forth the heliocentric model. Hipparchus, aGreek comprehensively cataloged stars. The catalog is relevant today too!
IT WALKS UPRIGHT..The Renaissance brought about sweeping changesin our fundamental understanding of the universe.The greats built up on each other’s works to challenge religious doctrines and Ptolemy’s work that went unopposed for a thousand years. The framework formed is the base of today’s sciences.
IT WALKS UPRIGHT..During the very same period, the tools used for making observations developed drastically, so did astronomy. From a lens makers apprentice to Isaac Newton, the modest telescope came a long way. The refracting and the reflecting varieties are the most basic forms of telescopes. Sunspots, planets and their moons, all were discovered using this simple optical instrument!
IT RUNS AND RUNS..Post Renaissance was the time wherein the sciences were formally split into specific branches for convenience. The theory of relativity, expansion of the universe, black holes, the big bang, stellar life-cycles, galactic formation and space exploration were the brainchildren of the 21st century astronomers.
WHERE DO WE STAND? Today, we stare at one of the most exciting phases in the history of science. Not one, but for numerous reasons! Theorists are searching for ‘The theory of everything’. String theory and quantum gravity are currently the strongest candidates for the same.Experimentalists are hunting for the Higgs Boson and trapping antimatter.Better telescopes are peering farther and back in time. Yes, back in time!!
Cosmology The study of the creation, evolution and the future of the universe is cosmology, This instant of creation is known as ‘the big bang’.The rules of physics break down at such moments in spacetime known as ‘singularity’. Scientists are workingbackwards to chart the evolution of the universe. Why is there something instead of nothing? Why is the expansion of universe accelerating? What exactly are the fundamental forces? They are searching for the answers….
Astrophysics Planets, planetary systems, stars, clusters, galaxies and super-clusters are studied comprehensively.Study of life cycles of stars form a branchcalled stellar astrophysics. Here, brilliantphenomena like supernovae, black holes and pulsars are observed and studied. Galactic astronomy deals with the formation and structure of galaxies. Many people work on the physics of the Milky Way itself!
THE MYSTERY OF THE MISSING NEUTRINOS• Theoretically predicted by Pauli to account for conservation of energy and momentum of certain radioactive decay.• It is electrically neutral.• Highly unreactive with normal matter, making it difficult to detect.• The particle was postulated to be massless.• And yes, millions are passing right through you as you read this.
THE MYSTERY OF THE MISSING NEUTRINOS Oscillations were possible only if neutrinos had mass.And that meant that either Astrophysics had got it wrong, or it was the Standard Model of Particle Physics to blame! Turned out, neutrinos do have mass!
SPACE TRAVELOne might think that space travel has no direct influence on us! But think again… Here are various things that we use daily. They were developed in space programmes.. •Water filters •Invisible braces •Scratch resistant lenses •Ear thermometer •Memory foam •Shoe insoles •Long distance communication
ASTROCHEMISTRYIt is the study of the interaction of the various forms matter in celestial bodies. Hydrogen and Helium, two of the lighte elements occur in a large quantity in th universe. They form a major compone of stars. Other heavy elements that make us u are found in the core of stars! Astrochemistry studies the compositio of such stars and also digs out how the elements are made.
Spectral AnalysisThe adsorption spectra of stars gives lets us predict their composition.Evidence for the expanding universe was collected in the same way by Edwin Hubble who measured red-shifting of stars.
ASTROBIOLOGYArent we all fascinated by the possibility of existence of life beyond the Earth? Astrobiology is the branch that tries to connect life to the cosmos. They hunt for traces of life and even the source of our existence! A comet is said to have seeded the Earth with life! The SETI is one such project that uses radio telescopes to search for alien signals!
EARTH SCIENCESA lot of the knowledge that we have about our own planet comes from the study of celestial bodies. The core of the Earth is said to posses the same composition as iron meteorites. The reason for the changing seasons on our planet was decoded long ago..
EARTH SCIENCESA lot of the knowledge that we have about our own planet comes from the study of celestial bodies. The phenomenon of the Greenhouse Effect was first observed on Venus. The formation of the Moon is another major event in the history of the Earth. Many theories are put forth to explain the same.
PSYCHOLOGYHuman behavior is speculated to be connected with the Moon. Statistics say so, does science too? The number of natural childbirths are said to rise up on full moon nights and are allegedly related to the gravitational pull of the Moon. Number of robberies and illegal incidents are also said to peak during such occasions. No wonder, the term ‘lunatic’ is derived from the Latin word for the Moon, ‘Luna’.
We fight, we cry. We breath and we die.We erect borders and kill. And sometimes, We wonder who we are. Would it be better? If we knew that..