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Outline of astronomy

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Outline of astronomy

Mauna Kea in Hawaii is one of the world's premier observatory sites. Pictured is the W. M. Keck Observatory, an optical interferometer.

The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to astronomy:

Astronomy – studies the universe beyond Earth, including its formation and development, and the evolution, physics, chemistry, meteorology, and motion of celestial objects (such as galaxies, planets, etc.) and phenomena that originate outside the atmosphere of Earth (such as the cosmic background radiation).

Nature of astronomy

Astronomy can be described as all of the following:

  • An academic discipline: one with academic departments, curricula and degrees; national and international societies; and specialized journals.
  • A scientific field (a branch of science) – widely-recognized category of specialized expertise within science, and typically embodies its own terminology and nomenclature. Such a field will usually be represented by one or more scientific journals, where peer reviewed research is published.

Branches of astronomy

The subdisciplines of observational astronomy are generally made by the specifications of the detectors:

General techniques for astronomical research are also convenient ways of dividing the field:

  • Photometry – study of how bright celestial objects are when passed through different filters
  • Spectroscopy – study of the spectra of astronomical objects
  • Astrometry – study of the position of objects in the sky and their changes of position. Defines the system of coordinates used and the kinematics of objects in our galaxy.

Other disciplines that may be considered part of astronomy:

History of astronomy

Basic astronomical phenomena

Instruments, measurement and units

Astronomical objects

Astronomical object

Solar system



Small solar system bodies

Extrasolar planets

  • Extrasolar planet – planet outside the Solar System. A total of 899 such planets (in 698 planetary systems, including 133 multiple planetary systems) have been identified as of 27 June 2013.

Stars and stellar objects


Variable stars


Black holes

Artist's representation of a black hole.


The 88 modern constellations

Constellation history

The 48 constellations listed by Ptolemy after 150 AD
The 41 additional constellations added in the 16th and 17th centuries
Obsolete constellations including Ptolemy's Argo Navis

Clusters and nebulae



Space exploration

See: Outline of space exploration


Public sector space agencies

North Africa
North America
South America
East Asia
Southeast Asia
South Asia
Southwest Asia
Central Asia

1 Preceded by the Soviet space program

Books and publications


See also


  1. ^ "astrophysics". Merriam-Webster, Incorporated. Retrieved 2011-05-22. 

External links

  • Astronomy Guide For reviews on astronomy products, how-to's and current events.
  • Astronomy Net Resources, forums (from 1995), articles on Astronomy.
  • International Year of Astronomy 2009 IYA2009 Main website
  • Cosmic Journey: A History of Scientific Cosmology from the American Institute of Physics
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day
  • Southern Hemisphere Astronomy
  • Sky & Telescope publishers
  • Astronomy Magazine
  • Latest astronomy news in 11 languages
  • Universe Today for astronomy and space-related news
  • Celestia Motherlode Educational site for Astronomical journeys through space
  • Search Engine for Astronomy
  • - home of NASA's Hubble Space Telescope
  • Astronomy - A History - G. Forbes - 1909 (eLibrary Project - eLib Text)
  • (historical)
  • Prof. Sir Harry Kroto, NL, Astrophysical Chemistry Lecture Series. 8 Freeview Lectures provided by the Vega Science Trust.
  • Core books and core journals in Astronomy, from the Smithsonian/NASA Astrophysics Data System
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