Astronomy

Astronomy is the study of the universe outside Earth. Very few people get the privilege to visit space, but everyone with good eyes can see at least some of the miracles of the universe from the Earth’s surface.

. . . Astronomy . . .

We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.

—Oscar Wilde

The Ursa Major constellation, including the Big Dipper, can be seen in the sky when you’re in the Northern Hemisphere

There are many reasons to combine travelling with a look upwards. Given that you can see a different set of stars in the sky depending on the latitude you are at, if you’re at all interested in astronomy and happen to travel across the Equator or even to the tropics, do take a look upwards at nighttime. More enthusiastic astronomers may even make a trip, in order to e.g. see a specific total solar eclipse that isn’t visible where they live.

In modern cities, light pollution means that the starry sky is hardly visible. The far-off countryside provides an astounding view of the stars. Mountains and deserts are also better places to look at the stars than others, firstly because they usually lack the light pollution of modern civilization and secondly because air and all that’s in it (primarily water) obstructs the clear view of the stars. If you are at 4,000 meters altitude, you already have a lot of the air below you. And a cloudy day is unlikelier in the Sahara than in say Oslo, making high desert areas ideal for observation of the sky, resulting in many observatories being in such places. And it should thus come as no surprise that the Atacama desert in South America which is both very dry and has high altitudes is a popular place for serious government funded observatories.

Also, astronomy is among the few sciences in which amateur scientists regularly make discoveries on their own, given that nobody can watch all the sky all the time and just having a good enough piece of equipment and looking at the right place by chance, you may discover your “own” comet, asteroid or other object.

. . . Astronomy . . .

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. . . Astronomy . . .

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