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The word astronomy is derived from the Greek word "astronomos" meaning "star-arranging". Astronomy, one of the oldest science, is the study of celestial objects (such as stars, planets, galaxies, natural satellites, asteroids, comets and nebulae), the physics, chemistry, and evolution of such objects, and phenomena that originate beyond the atmosphere of the Earth including supernovae, gamma ray bursts, and cosmic microwave background radiation.Astronomy is a natural science. A related but distinct subject, physical cosmology, is concerned with studying the heavenly bodies and the universe as a whole.

Man has always been impelled by the urge to know more. To know the unknown has been a driving force that led to the birth of the science of astronomy. The early civilizations documented in history such as the Babylonians, Greeks, Mayans, Indians, Nubians, Egyptians, Iranians, and Chinese performed methodical observations of the night sky.The invention of the telescope by Hans Lippershey helped astronomy develop into a modern science. Historically, astronomy has included disciplines as diverse as astrometry, celestial navigation, observational astronomy and the making of calendars, but professional astronomy is nowadays often considered to be one and the same with astrophysics. In the past, astronomy only comprised the studying, observing and predictions of the motions of objects visible to the naked eye. In some places, early cultures amassed massive artefacts that possibly had some astronomical function. In addition to their liturgical uses, these observatories could be employed to determine the seasons, an important factor in knowing when to plant crops as well as understanding the length of the year.During the Renaissance, Nicolaus Copernicus proposed a heliocentric model of the solar system. His work was defended, expanded upon, and corrected by Galileo Galilei and Johannes Kepler. Galileo used telescopes to enhance his observations.During the 20th century, the field of professional astronomy was divided into observational and theoretical branches.

Countless wonders await you any clear night. The first step is simply to look up and ask, "What's that?". Astronomy can be a captivating and a gratifying pastime, whether you have a hefty telescope and accessories such as a CCD (Charge coupled device) camera, or are a neophyte observing with the naked eye. It is one of the few sciences where amateurs make genuine contributions to research, but many observers simply do it for the excitement of seeing with their own eyes the planets, star clusters, nebulae and so on that are familiar from books. Observing directly with the eye using an amateur or handmade telescope, it is not possible to see most celestial objects with the amount of detail and colour captured in the images recorded by large professional instruments. However, many experienced amateurs make beautiful drawings at the telescope, and some achieve spectacular and breath-taking results with photography and CCD imaging.

Astronomy is a learning hobby. Its joys come from intellectual discovery and knowledge of the cryptic night sky. The public library is the amateur's most important astronomical tool. Event magazines on astronomy or the World Wide Web (www) can also serve as guides for the amateur.

Hobbylancer and You

At Hobbylancer get the opportunity to meet other star gazers and know more about stars and planets from experienced gazers if you are an amateur. Learn to make your own telescope, post images and use this opportunity to form a star gazer's club. Unravel the secrets of the universe with us at Hobbylancer.

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