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. Astronomers try to explain what we see in the sky in the
simplest way possible.
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.
Shop Windows to the Universe Science Store!
The Summer 2010 issue of The Earth Scientist
, available in our online store
, includes articles on rivers and snow, classroom planetariums, satellites and oceanography, hands-on astronomy, and global warming.
You might also be interested in:
The Earth's orbit is in the shape of an ellipse (a stretched out circle), so that sometimes the Earth is closer to the Sun than at other times. Is this the cause of the seasons? You can imagine that if...more
Have you ever wondered how you might become an astronomer? Well here's how!! Becoming an astronomer is as simple as stepping outside on a dark night, gazing at the stars, and thinking about what you see....more
People have been living in North America for a long, long time. The first people to live there were the Native Americans. They didn't have clocks or calendars so they watched tides, the Sun, the Moon,...more
Man has always observed the sky. By watching the Sun and Moon, early man could tell what season was coming next. They had to know this to be able to farm and hunt. Archeoastronomy started in the 1960's...more
The stones of Carnac, France, are very famous because there are a lot of them and because they are so old! The oldest stones found in Carnac are from about 4,500 B.C. That's older than the stones at Stonehenge!...more
You may have heard of the lake called Loch Ness, where people think they've seen the Loch Ness monster. Near Loch Ness there are three giant stone tombs you may not have heard of...they are called the...more
Cuzco is a city in Peru. It was the capital of the ancient Inca Empire. In ancient times, Cuzco was the center of the Inca road network which was made up of about 40,000 kilometers (25,000 miles) of roads...more