Astronomy - A
18 August 2014
Fascination for the Sky
Georg C. Lichtenberg, a German scientist, once said, “Astronomy is perhaps the science
whose discoveries owe least to chance, in which human understanding appears in its whole magnitude, and through which man can best learn how small he is.” This shows how astronomy is full of mysteries, which we have not yet discovered; therefore everyday we uncover something even more fascinating about it. Even though “astronomy is one of the oldest sciences” (Astronomy 2), we are not even close to reaching a conclusion about space, the sky, the heavens and other aspects beyond Earth.
Since the 20th century, there have been thousands of theories that made up space and the universe. Scientists like Galileo Galilei, Isaac Newton and Edwin Hubble have helped clarify some important facts about the universe, which have been expanded through the use of new developments like the telescope and computer or analytical models, which help describe astronomical objects and phenomenons. As new scientists arise, past theories like geocentricism have been contradicted and replaced by more accurate and more fitting theories like heliocentricism. This is how astronomy evolves into a more specific and known science, which motivates mankind to research more and make sense about it in order to try to reach a conclusion. In addition, astronomy can be credited for uniting different cultures, since it has been a common ground in various cultures like Babylonians, Greeks and Romans (Hofstätter, Thomas
2). They all have used the moon and the sun in order to improve their life-style. For example, the Babylonians used the moon to create a calendar ,which caused a huge progress in their agricultural skills, just like the Egyptians created a calendar by looking at the sun. Even though, both have had different uses of astronomical aspects, they all have been able to apply them to their daily lives in order to become more efficient and they all have the same immense curiosity, which none of the cultures can seem to satisfy.
One of the main fascinations in astronomy is the idea of reaching the unreachable and knowing the unknown. This concept is what has motivated scientists to saying that “we can be proud of one achievement: that our planet has developed a life- form that can gaze out into the Universe - and question what it all means” (Heather Couper and Nigel Henbest, 9). Curiosity and ambition have pushed humanity to learn about the Universe and everything that has to do with it in order to reach a final conclusion which may answer some questions and satisfy inquisitiveness. When reading the introduction to astronomy by Heather Couper and Nigel Henbest, we realize how much effort humanity has given in order to discover where we come from and how we are here, but scientists have been able to state that “today, we have reached a humbling perspective on the Cosmos. The Earth is an average planet, circling a middle-aged star in an unremarkable galaxy” (Heather Couper and Nigel Henbest, 9). This is a really vague idea of what the Universe really is, but with the help of technology and photography advancements, which are being made every day, new approachments keep on adding more fascinating beliefs to humanity’s minds.
Astronomy does not enthrall humanity just because of its ability to ignite our curiosity and push us to learn more about the unknown, but also because it has helped humanity evolve
and create unity between cultures in the past and the present. Humanity has made a lot of progress, since they started to give the study of the sky more interest. Before, some cultures had ideas or theories that are now thought to be ridiculous. For example, “In certain cultures there was a time when men thought that the sky was made of stone” (Meteorites and Metallurgy, 19). Obviously this concept is really old,...
Cited: 3. Eliade, Mircea. "Meteorites and Metallurgy." The Forge and the Crucible. Chicago: U of
4. "Five Reasons Why Astronomy Is Cool." Sunny Spells. 10 Sept. 2010. Web. 18 Aug. 2014.
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