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Astronomy

The night sky that we see is the best example of Nature’s recurring marvel. It is an open Observatory in which we can make a note of all the observations. Astronomy, the “science of the stars,” is concerned with the ‘physical universe.’ This science deals with Planets and their Satellites, including the Earth and Moon, with Comets and Meteors, with the Sun, the stars and clusters of stars, with the interstellar gas and dust, with the system of the Milky Way and the other galaxies that lie beyond the Milky Way.

The most comprehensive of the sciences, astronomy is also regarded as the oldest of all. People of ancient times were attentive watchers of the skies. They were attracted by the splendour of the heavens, as we are today, and by its mystery that entered into their religions and mythologies. Astrology, the pseudo-science, which held that, the destinies of nations and individuals were revealed by the stars, provided at times another incentive for attention to the heavens. An additional incentive to the early cultivation of astronomy was its usefulness in relation to ordinary pursuits. The daily rotation of the heavens furnished means of telling time. The study of heavenly bodies has led to the evolution of time keeping. The cycle of the moon's phases and the westward march of the constellations through the year were convenient for calendar purposes. The pole star in the north served as a faithful guide td the traveller on land and sea. These are some of the ways in which the heavens have been useful to man from the earliest civilizations to the present.

The value of this science, however, is not measured mainly in terms of economic applications. Astronomy is concerned primarily with an aspiration of mankind, which is fully as impelling as the quest for survival and material welfare, namely, the desire to know about the universe around us and our relation to it. The importance of this service is demonstrated by the widespread public interest in astronomy and by the generous financial support that has promoted the construction and operation of large telescopes in increasing numbers. Nowhere in the college curricula can the value of learning for its own sake be more convincingly presented than in the introductory courses in astronomy. It is the purpose of astronomy to furnish a description of the physical universe, in which the features and relationships of its various parts are clearly shown. At present the picture is incomplete. Doubtless it will always remain incomplete, subject to improvements in the light of new explorations and viewpoints. The advancing years will bring added grandeur and significance to the view of the universe, as they have in the past. With a Scientist President, we are just about going in the correct direction. Astronomy is a vast subject & this excerpt will provide just a peek at the subject. It is just the beginning & remember, universe is endless…

 
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