Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Astronomy

Although I am not as interested in Astronomy as I am in other areas, I recently did a significant rewrite of the introductory and auxiliary material. Most of my interest is in the Solar system, since this has some practical application, and next is stellar astronomy, for science fictional purposes. I'm not really interested in galaxies or cosmology, since those aren't where I look for life's meaning.

But all areas of astronomy depend rather heavily on physics. Mechanics including gravitation, electromagnetism and optics, thermodynamics, and the structure of matter correspond to important divisions of astrophysics. Chemical substances and the various changes and reactions that go on in space and extraterrestrial environments are also fundamental. Earth science and Biology are generally less useful in astronomy.
Space is generally inaccessible (to most of us, anyway), and psychology is rather minimally useful, but I want to take note of particular astronomers. The communication and other interactions among astronomers are also important, and the role of language, literature, graphics, mathematics, applied sciences, and even philosophy are essential to its study. There is room for amateur as well as professional astronomers. Telescopes and other equipment are also highly useful if not absolutely essential. I have not oberved any significant connection of astronomy with families, but education, government support, and even the interaction of astronomy with religious belief are worthwhile areas of study. Nearly all major civilizations have studied the heaven, but the heritage of western civilization has produced by far the greatest body of knowledge. This is among the oldest of the sciences and goes back to antiquity, but greek astronomy was an important precursor of modern astronomy.

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