The Study of Celestial Bodies: Astronomy

Astronomy Root Word

Astronomy is the scientific study of celestial bodies, including stars and galaxies. It is also known as cosmology.

Scientists have observed the movements of celestial objects since ancient times. They combined this knowledge with their beliefs to predict future events on Earth (astrology).

During the 17th century, astronomy advanced significantly with the development of the telescope. This led to major discoveries in the field.


The study of celestial objects and events that occur outside the earth’s atmosphere. Astronomers use telescopes and other scientific equipment to observe and collect data about the universe.

The astronomy of stars is the science that describes their apparent positions and motions. It also explains their origins and chemical compositions. The word astronomy comes from two Greek words: astron, meaning star, and nomos, meaning law or system.

The astronomy of planets is the science that studies their movements and interactions with each other and other cosmic bodies. It includes the physics of stars, the formation of galaxies, and the life cycles of stars. Astronomy is the oldest of all sciences and has a history that dates back thousands of years. Astronomy has helped humans better understand our place in the universe and the forces that shape it. Astronomy is often (but not always) focused on very concrete, observable things, as opposed to cosmology, which is more concerned with the large-scale properties of the universe and theories like dark matter and dark energy.


Staring at stars and pondering their movements requires a person focused on detail and removed from the petty distractions of earthly life. Astronomers use large telescopes to track and study the energy emitted by stars and movement of planetary bodies. This highly cerebral field of study is also referred to as astrophysics or the study of celestial bodies.

An astronaut is a person trained to operate and work aboard spacecraft. NASA and other space agencies recruit candidates for the astronaut program, who undergo grueling training programs before they’re assigned to a mission. Astronauts are figures of awe and admiration, and it’s not uncommon for people to have aspirations of becoming one someday.

The word astronaut comes from the Greek astron and Latin nautes. It was adopted by NASA in 1961 to describe those who would participate in space exploration missions. The Russian equivalent is cosmonaut, which comes from the root kosmos. These explorers are often trained military personnel, but recent accessibility of space travel has allowed civilian astronauts to fly into orbit.


An asteroid is a rocky or metallic object in space that circles the Sun. It’s what’s left over from the material that made the planets in our solar system billions of years ago. Asteroids can vary in size, from a pebble to a dwarf planet larger than Jupiter. Most are found in the asteroid belt, which lies between Mars and Jupiter.

Astronomers have a lot of fun naming asteroids. Some of them have whimsical names, such as one named after Mr. Spock from Star Trek, and others are named after late rock musicians and celebrities.

The prefix astro comes from the Greek word astron, meaning “star.” It’s used in words that relate to stars and celestial bodies, as well as activities, such as spaceflight, that take place outside the Earth’s atmosphere. Some examples include astronomy, astronaut, asteroids, and astrocytes. Astronomy is a scientific discipline that has a rich heritage that continues to inspire generations of scientists.


Astrocytes are star-shaped glial cells that perform many different functions including structural support, regulation of the chemical environment and neuronal metabolism. They also engulf CNS synapses to eliminate cellular debris through MEGF10 and MERTK phagocytic pathways. During brain development, astrocytes help to provide guidance cues for neuronal cell migration and expansion from progenitor cells in the subventricular zone (SVZ).

Astrocytodes communicate with neurons through gap junctions and release various substances including calcium, ions, prostaglandins and nitric oxide. They also regulate local blood flow in the central nervous system (CNS) and are the main glucose storage units of the brain.

Unlike other cells, astrocytes have high-affinity uptake systems for glutamate and gamma-aminobutryic acid, which may explain why they are able to control synaptic transmission. They can also rapidly clear away chemical messengers from the synapse, called neurotransmitters, to reset the synapse for the next transmission. This is important, because if the neurotransmitters lingered too long they would interfere with communication between neurons.

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Astronomy in Ancient China: Observations, Instruments, and Religious Significance

Astronomy in China

The Chinese had a long tradition of astronomical observation and prediction. They used a comprehensive system of star names and interpreted celestial events. For example, when a new dynasty took power, it was important for portent astronomers to understand the reason for the change.

In the seventeenth century, Jesuit priest astronomers introduced early-modern European science into China. This included Euclid’s Elements of Geometry and astronomical tables.


In ancient China, astronomy was intertwined with worship of heaven. Early Chinese astronomy was based on observational data but was not a scientific system in the modern sense of the word. It was a shamanistic practice that allowed humans to communicate with the heavens.

The earliest detailed records of astronomical observations began in the Warring States period (fourth century BC). This was an era of shamanistic beliefs in which the universe was divided into the realms of heaven and earth. In order to communicate with the divine, astronomers used tools such as gnomons, which were posts that cast shadows to record solar movements.

A number of astronomers contributed to the development of Chinese astronomy. These include Wu Xian, who is often mentioned in the same breath as Gan and Shi. Wu Xian is thought to be the author of the Star Manual, although this work is actually much older and its authenticity is still under debate.

Astronomical observations

The Chinese made a long series of observations, recording everything they could about the stars, moon, sun, wind and weather. They also made divinations and studied omens. The government set clepsydras and observatories in the palaces, and every night astronomers recorded the omens, clouds, and meteorological phenomena. These reports were compared with the records of other observatories to avoid errors.

Astronomers made some of the earliest discoveries of events beyond our solar system. For example, in 48 BCE, Chinese sky-watchers noticed a bright glow in a certain part of the sky. Scientists now know this was a nova – an explosive release of hydrogen from the surface of a star.

Although East Asian Archaeoastronomy provides a wealth of information, it is important to remember that these reports were based on observational data only. Therefore, they do not represent a definitive record of the cosmological theories of ancient China. In addition, it is difficult to compare the omens and predictions of Chinese astronomers with those of modern scientists.

Astronomical instruments

The ancient Chinese astronomers made great achievements in observation. They were able to predict eclipses. They also used a lunisolar calendar. They also created a system of star names. They organized the stars into twenty-eight mansions, the Chinese equivalent of Western constellations. They were also able to accurately record the appearance of Halley’s comet and fireballs.

The Chinese astronomers developed a variety of astronomical instruments, including the Abridged Armillary Sphere, which was designed by Guo Shoujing in 1276 C.E. This instrument solved many problems found in the earlier armillary spheres. The primary structure of this device is a double ring perpendicular to the center of the equatorial ring and revolving around a metallic shaft. This ring is known as the right ascension double ring, and it contains dials that can be read by astronomers.

The Purple Mountain Observatory in China constructed a multifunctional celestial globe, which is used for teaching, navigation, and astronomy. It looks like a terrestrial globe, but depicts more than 1,000 stars on its surface. It can be used in both northern and southern hemispheres.

Astronomical research

The ancient Chinese maintained accurate records of eclipses, novae, meteors and sunspots for longer than any other civilization. They also developed sophisticated mathematical methods for describing celestial motions and made use of them in almanacs. These are still used in modern astronomy (Needham 1959).

Early Chinese astronomy was not only scientific but also religious. In this shamanistic culture, the relationship between heaven and earth was a sacred one. Only those who had a way of communicating with the gods could know the secrets of the universe. This is why astronomical research was a highly regarded science in ancient China.

Astronomical research in China has made tremendous progress in recent years. The number of astronomers in the country has doubled in the past ten years, and the budget for astronomical research has grown significantly. In addition to the new Xuntian telescope, there are several other ground-based and space-based observatories that are helping scientists discover the universe.

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The Mysterious Death of Tycho Brahe: Exploding Bladder Theory

An Astronomer Died of Burst Bladder

Astronomers conduct observational and theoretical research of celestial objects such as stars, galaxies, planets, comets, nebulae, and other cosmic phenomena. They use sophisticated telescopes and other instruments to collect and analyze data on the cosmos.

Renaissance astronomer Tycho Brahe was an irascible figure who lost his nose in a duel and feuded with two royal courts, but his work led to enormous contributions to science, including Johannes Kepler’s laws of planetary motion. He died a mysterious death, though, and it wasn’t a burst bladder.


Most people outside the field probably know a few A-list astronomers by name: Copernicus, Galileo and maybe Hubble, although these might be mostly recognizable for their roles in Back to the Future, Bohemian Rhapsody or being big-ass telescopes. Few, however, might recognize Tycho Brahe, the 16th century Danish astronomer who catalogued some 1,000 new stars and helped bring about the Scientific Revolution by noticing that some previously assumed unshiftable celestial objects actually shift, among other things. Brahe was also a bit of a character; it’s said that he kept a pet moose that got drunk at a dinner party, fell down some stairs and died, for example, and that he once lost his nose in a student fencing duel and wore a metal prosthetic the rest of his life.

But he might have been even more renowned if he hadn’t died at the age of 54. According to the team of scientists behind a new study, he did so because his bladder exploded. They say they’ve proved that the rumor is true with the help of a modern test and some 400-year-old accounts from Kepler, Brahe’s personal physician and other sources at the time. They note that the astronomer was invited to a banquet by Baron Peter von Rosenberg along with his mentor and student, Johannes Kepler. The men drank heavily and Tycho allegedly held his urine due to etiquette in the presence of his host, which ultimately led to bladder inflammation, a fever, delirium and – as the most popular account goes – a tiny, fatal bladder explosion.

If he had answered nature’s call, who knows what Brahe might have accomplished; he might have renounced his erroneous planetary model, done more crucial research or invented new measuring instruments, for instance. He certainly wouldn’t have been quite the same person without his nose, though; he was a flamboyant character who liked throwing elaborate parties and favored wearing wigs.

Despite the fact that he was such an important astronomer, many suspect that somebody wanted him dead, possibly even Kepler himself who would have been in a good position to do so given his distrust of Brahe based on their professional rivalry (and maybe because he had a competing theory about how the planets orbited the sun). No formal postmortem examination ever took place but the researchers believe that they’ve found a smoking gun: traces of gold in the astronomer’s hair, beard and eyebrows. That’s what the team interpreted as proof that he had a brass catheter, which was considered more effective than other types at preventing bladder infections. But even that doesn’t prove a murder conspiracy; a healthy bladder can only burst involuntarily, not because the muscles holding it shut give way. That only happens when something like a blockage or pelvic trauma occurs. For more on this fascinating story, check out this video from Durham University and the National Museum in Prague. (As a side note, it’s pretty easy to tell if someone has a broken bladder by examining their crotch area.)

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