Image: "Observation of the Sky." Colored engraving published in 1647 in the book
entitled "Selenografia sive Lunae Descriptio" by Johannes Hevelius.
Click on image for full size
Bibliotheque Nationale de France, Paris, France.
Understanding the Sky
People have been wondering about what they see in the sky for a long
time. Because of our curiosity about the sky, we tell stories and myths
about what we see
there. The desire to explain what we see around us in the simplest way
using science has driven astronomers for centuries.
By carefully watching the sky, astronomers learn about how the
universe works. By studying eclipses and the motions of the planets, astronomers eventually
realized that gravity controls the way things move, and that gravity
was responsible for the motion of the Sun, the
Moon, and the stars in our sky as well. We now know that the Earth's motion is responsible for seasons.
Telescopes allow us to "see" further away. With them, we can study stars and galaxies, as well as many of the
more mysterious objects in
Shop Windows to the Universe Science Store!
The Fall 2009 issue of The Earth Scientist
, which includes articles on student research into building design for earthquakes and a classroom lab on the composition of the Earth’s ancient atmosphere, is available in our online store
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