What is Astronomy?
Astronomy comes from the Greek words “astro” and “nomos”, which means or roughly translates to “laws of the stars”. Those are some fitting root words for the word astronomy, because astronomy actually is the scientific study of celestial objects and their positions, where they are located in space, their movements and their structures.
What are these objects actually made of? What are their movements? Astronomers track the movements of all sorts of things that are out in space. That helps them be able to predict if they’re going to be back in the future or look for any other kinds of patterns that may be helpful out there.
Now, “celestial” does not refer to earth in particular. “Celestial” is referring to the heavens, and by heavens we mean the sky, space, and all that’s contained there. When you hear “celestial”, it isn’t meaning something specifically to do with earth or the sky right above Earth.
It’s having to do with anything up above earth and beyond (the sky, space, everything going out, out, and out). Now, astronomy does include the movement of earth, or the motion of earth, as it moves through space.
Since astronomy studies the positions, movements, and structures, Earth is going to be the thing that we know the most about as far as the structure or what it’s made of because it’s where we live. We track its movement and we track its position in space relative to the other things that we can see.
There are other objects monitored in astronomy, because there are other objects out in space. Other objects monitored in astronomy includes moons, other planets, the sun, satellites, asteroids, meteors, comets, stars, galaxies, the universe, and other space phenomena.
We don’t know everything that’s out there. We know about the other planets in our solar system. We know about comets that come by every so many years that we can expect to see again because we’re tracking their movement.
We know about satellites that different countries have put into orbit around the earth. We know that asteroids and meteors come toward the earth at different times, so we watch for those and make sure we track progress of any large ones, so they don’t hit the Earth.
We know about our moon and the sun. We know that other planets have different and moons that orbit them (some of them, anyway). We know that there are stars out there and we have many of them named. There are some that you can recognize by sight (the ones in Orion, the North Star…). Galaxies.
We know that we live in the Milky Way galaxy, but that there are other galaxies. The universe as a whole. Then, other space phenomena that we don’t even know about. Astronomy has labelled a lot of things. It’s tracked lots of positions, movement, and structures of different items, but it doesn’t know everything.
It’s going to keep- astronomers are going to keep looking for more laws of the stars. They are going to keep looking to see what else they can find out there, what other space phenomena.
No matter what, astronomy is going to be the scientific study of any objects in space as well as their positions, movements, and structures throughout the celestial heavens.