A Conversation for What's the Point of Astronomy?

Why Astronomy?

Post 1

Astronomer

You can also add that the very first major advance in Science, Mechanics, invented by Newton, was a direct result of trying to explain the motion of the planets.
On the philosophical arena, Astronomy debunked Geocentrism (by Copernicus), the first step to get rid of Antropocentrism.
Nowadays, our communications are totally dependent of satellites (before the Telsat, no intercontinental TV transmissions were possible), and the study of the Solar activity is important to better understand the weather.
The Universe has presented menaces much more dreadful than some chunks of rock. They range from solar flares, which can disturb earth's atmosphere, to Gamma-Ray Bursts, cosmic explosions with energies comparable to the output of the entire Universe.


Why Astronomy?

Post 2

Yeliab {h2g2as}

Interesting thought:

You can see farthest at night.


Why Astronomy?

Post 3

Seven of Nine [(1x52)-2-8]x1=42!

That depends whether or not you are on a spaceship.smiley - biggrin
I enjoyed reading this entry.
I actually found it while looking for something else.
Serendipity...
~Seven~


Why Astronomy?

Post 4

beeline

Thanks. I actually wrote it while thinking of something else. smiley - smiley

I'd have said that the very first major advances in mathematics were made a lot earlier than Newton. What about the Arabs, Greeks and Egyptians? They were pretty smart. Newton, da Vinci, et al, only marked out the beginning of the Renaissance of 'classical' thought.

I'm preparing another article on Gamma Ray Bursters as the moment, and also thinking about a Solar structure article talking about Wolf Numbers, Butterfly Diagrams, etc. That'll make a good link to weather articles.

Oh, and I think it's unlikely for a cosmic explosion to output the energy of the universe... got any details on that?


Why Astronomy?

Post 5

xyroth

why astronomy? simple. it is the cheapest piece of science that you can do (except possibly thinking), with lots of different fields being actively worked upon by amateurs. For example, most comets and asteroids are found by non-professionals, so are meteor shower statistics, and the comparative level that the amateur can acheive is such that you can make a living out of astronomy after very few years of sky watching. and this is without becomming an active researcher.


Why Astronomy?

Post 6

Seven of Nine [(1x52)-2-8]x1=42!

explain "make a living" please...


Why Astronomy?

Post 7

xyroth

An example of "making a living" as requested.
My freind joined his local astronomy club a number of years ago, owning only a pair of 8x50 binoculars.
He used these to become familiar with the messier objects.
Being familiar with these objects, he was regarded as the society expert on them, and was asked to prepare a talk for the club about them.
When he gave his talk about the messier objects, there were some people there from other astronomy societies, who asked if it was o.k. for them to pass his name on to their programme secretary as a speaker on these objects.
Some of these resulted in him giving talks to other societies, which he got paid for. As a result, he started preparing talks on other subjects that he was asked about.
He now makes half of his income just from giving talks to astronomy societies all over the east coast of britain.
He doesn't even do astronomy as his "day job" which he now only has to do part time.
I hope that this is detailed enough for you.


Why Astronomy?

Post 8

Lampadas

An interesting thought: Astronomy is the cheapest science, aside from just thinking. I've never considered this as much of reason to do it - but it does impress me that it requires some of the more brilliant minds to do science that costs the least amount of money. Interesting point.


Why Astronomy?

Post 9

Yeliab {h2g2as}

True, so so easy, and it can be done by so many people it's unbelievable.

Hay, if your interested in astronomy do check out the h2g2 astronomy society, lost to do there. Though admitidly I haven't updated since the weekend.

the address is:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/h2g2/guide/A413876

Yeliab


Why Astronomy?

Post 10

Ahlgrenson

"Astronomy is the cheapest science."

Really?

The budget for the Hubble Space Telescope is about $200M per year. In my view that is good value for money, if you compare it with the cost of US/UK "aid" to Iraq, but it is certainly not cheap.


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