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Acelestialmapfromthe17th

century,bytheDutchcartographer
FrederikdeWit.
Greekequatorialsundial,
AlexandriaontheOxus,
presentdayAfghanistan
3rd2ndcenturyBCE.
calledastrophysics.
[5]
Fewfields,suchasastrometry,arepurelyastronomyratherthanalso
astrophysics.Variousdepartmentsinwhichscientistscarryoutresearchonthissubjectmayuse
"astronomy"and"astrophysics,"partlydependingonwhetherthedepartmentishistoricallyaffiliated
withaphysicsdepartment,
[6]
andmanyprofessionalastronomershavephysicsratherthanastronomy
degrees.
[7]
OneoftheleadingscientificjournalsinthefieldistheEuropeanjournalnamedAstronomy
andAstrophysics.TheleadingAmericanjournalsareTheAstrophysicalJournalandTheAstronomical
Journal.
Inearlytimes,astronomyonlycomprisedtheobservationand
predictionsofthemotionsofobjectsvisibletothenakedeye.In
somelocations,earlyculturesassembledmassiveartifactsthat
possiblyhadsomeastronomicalpurpose.Inadditiontotheir
ceremonialuses,theseobservatoriescouldbeemployedto
determinetheseasons,animportantfactorinknowingwhento
plantcrops,aswellasinunderstandingthelengthoftheyear.
[11]
Beforetoolssuchasthetelescopewereinvented,earlystudyof
thestarswasconductedusingthenakedeye.Ascivilizations
developed,mostnotablyinMesopotamia,China,Egypt,Greece,
India,andCentralAmerica,astronomicalobservatorieswere
assembled,andideasonthenatureoftheuniversebegantobe
explored.Mostofearlyastronomyactuallyconsistedofmappingthepositionsofthestarsandplanets,
asciencenowreferredtoasastrometry.Fromtheseobservations,earlyideasaboutthemotionsofthe
planetswereformed,andthenatureoftheSun,MoonandtheEarthintheuniversewereexplored
philosophically.TheEarthwasbelievedtobethecenteroftheuniversewiththeSun,theMoonandthe
starsrotatingaroundit.Thisisknownasthegeocentricmodeloftheuniverse,orthePtolemaic
system,namedafterPtolemy.
[12]
Aparticularlyimportantearlydevelopmentwasthebeginningofmathematicalandscientific
astronomy,whichbeganamongtheBabylonians,wholaidthefoundationsforthelaterastronomical
traditionsthatdevelopedinmanyothercivilizations.
[13]
TheBabyloniansdiscoveredthatlunar
eclipsesrecurredinarepeatingcycleknownasasaros.
[14]
FollowingtheBabylonians,significantadvancesinastronomywere
madeinancientGreeceandtheHellenisticworld.Greekastronomyis
characterizedfromthestartbyseekingarational,physicalexplanation
forcelestialphenomena.
[15]
Inthe3rdcenturyBC,AristarchusofSamos
estimatedthesizeanddistanceoftheMoonandSun,andwasthefirstto
proposeaheliocentricmodelofthesolarsystem.
[16]
Inthe2ndcentury
BC,Hipparchusdiscoveredprecession,calculatedthesizeanddistance
oftheMoonandinventedtheearliestknownastronomicaldevicessuch
astheastrolabe.
[17]
Hipparchusalsocreatedacomprehensivecatalogof
1020stars,andmostoftheconstellationsofthenorthernhemisphere
derivefromGreekastronomy.
[18]
TheAntikytheramechanism(c.
15080BC)wasanearlyanalogcomputerdesignedtocalculatethe
locationoftheSun,Moon,andplanetsforagivendate.Technological
artifactsofsimilarcomplexitydidnotreappearuntilthe14thcentury,
whenmechanicalastronomicalclocksappearedinEurope.
[19]
DuringtheMiddleAges,astronomywasmostlystagnantinmedievalEurope,atleastuntilthe13th
century.However,astronomyflourishedintheIslamicworldandotherpartsoftheworld.Thisledto
AstronomyWikipedia,thefreeencyclopedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Astronomy
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