WElcome to North Georgia Astronomers
in the galaxy that aid in the exploration of our existing world.
North Georgia Astronomical Observatory
Through astronomical observations, determine when the area will have a clear sky and forecast unforeseen weather.
When the sky is clear and transparent, you can see a clear view of the galaxy and get much finer and brighter images while observing.
Seeing is the deterioration of an astronomical material's image caused by stormy airflow control in Earth's atmosphere that could become noticeable.
Promote astronomy by creating a dark sky preserve, usually around a park or observatory that limits different lighting pollution with the goal of conserving the dark sky.
Investigate the powerful and strong winds found on various planets throughout the galaxy and compare them to the atmosphere on Earth.
Learn about the importance of humidity in an astronomical observatory, which negatively affects imaging and observing the galaxy.
THE MILLENNIUM PROJECT of NORTH GEORGIA ASTRONOMERS
successes we’ve had over the years!
North Georgia Astronomers Discussion Group
connecting with expert astronomers and learning more
about the universe around you.
As human beings, until the invention of the other telescope by Galileo in the 17th century, we weren’t aware of space elements than the planets. However, after the invention of the telescope, scientists and astronomers started observing floating objects in space, some of which were also responsible for forming the rings of Saturn. These floating objects were called Space rocks. Asteroids, meteorites, comets, and meteors are briefly classified into an umbrella called space rocks.
The solar system is a rocky road filled with space rocks, small metal bodies, ice, and others constantly orbiting around the sun. Although for an average human, they sound like any other object, astronomers believe studying them can reveal the future of Earth and our origin.
As kids, when we drew the structure of our solar system, we were often told to include rocky structures orbiting around the sun. These are called asteroids, which are rocky and airless. It is believed that these were the leftovers from the solar system’s formation. They have diverse compositions, ranging from metallic to carbon. Some of them are also made of rubber piles held together by gravity.
Between Mars and Jupiter are billions of asteroids in the solar system, mainly residing in the asteroid belt. Some telescopes are designed to determine their movement and if they pose a threat to Earth.
Comets are also celestial objects that revolve around the sun but are made of snowball-like structures. They have an icy nucleus with frozen gases and rocks, and dust. When the comet’s orbit is closer to the sun, they form against balls of burning gas, with their tails facing away from the sun, and can stretch over millions of miles.
Meteoroids and meteors
These are the smallest of all the space rocks formed due to collision among moons, planets, comets, asteroids, and other particles. They are also visible from the Earth as meteor showers.
When such meteoroids fall through the Earth’s atmosphere at incredible speeds, they are called meteorites. This is because they have extensive pressure and heat, which can push through the Earth’s gravity. Unfortunately, this also causes them to emit bright light into the atmosphere. On Earth, we call them shooting stars; most burn before reaching the ground. According to scientists, about 45.5 tons of meteoric materials fall on the surface of the Earth every day.
These planets are not smaller in size, but they are the size of planets that are round or nearly round. Therefore, they lack the gravitational force to clear their path and orbit the sun. Such planets are found in the Kuiper Belt after Neptune. Pluto is the most famous example of a dwarf planet.
Kuiper Belt Objects
It is a disc-shaped space beyond Neptune and extends for 30 to 55 astronomical units. It is believed that this region comprises trillion times more comets, icy bodies, and other objects when compared to our solar system. They are time capsules that are pristine in their realm.
Astronomy is the scientific study of a celestial object. Many galaxies form our universe, along with planets, comets, stars, asteroids, meteoroids, and several other objects in space.
It is one of the earliest sciences that humans delved in. Astronomy is a Greek word where “Astro” means star and “Nomos” means law. Some of the popular branches of astronomy are:
Planetary Astronomy is the learning of planets and planetary bodies like the stars, moons, and comets. In addition, it studies the distribution of planets around the other stars, the different conditions and possibilities that give birth to several celestial bodies, and the likelihood of life in them. The father of observational astronomy is the famous planetary astronomer Galileo Galilei.
Sun is also known as the yellow star, Sol. This branch of astronomy studies the Sun’s structure and features. It also concentrates on its atmosphere, solar winds, radiation, magnetohydrodynamics, and how the Sun influences life on Earth. The first solar astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus discovered that the Earth revolves around the Sun.
Stellar Astronomy deals with studying the characteristics and life span of the stars and what happens when they die. Annie Jump Cannon is one of the first astronomers to develop the Stellar Classification System. It determines the size, temperature, and shape of the stars.
We all have heard of astrophysics in the popular sitcom “Big Bang Theory.” To know further, Astrophysics is the study of physical processes in the universe. Astrophysicists use information gathered by astronomers and combine it with the laws and theories of physics to understand the working of the entire universe. The subdivisions of Astrophysics are Physical Cosmology, High Energy Astrophysics, Interstellar Astrophysics, Extragalactic Astronomy, Plasma Astrophysics, Relativistic Astrophysics, and Solar Physics.
Astrobiology is also known as exobiology or xenobiology. The study of extra-terrestrial life, including biology, geology, and astronomy, forms Astrobiology’s crux. Astrobiologists scrutinize if there is life on other planets or moons. They use different radio signals to connect with other galaxies and look for evidence of water or unicellular organisms on the other planets.
This branch of science is also known as Planetary Geology or Exogeology. It studies the geology of planets, comets, moons, and asteroids. Astrogeologists use strategies of Geophysics and Geochemistry to examine rock samples from the moon and other planets.
Astrometry studies the motions and positions of celestial objects in the universe. It researches the origin of the Solar System and the Milky Way from the data gathered by astrometric measurements.
NASA designed Space Interferometry Mission to detect other planets similar to Earth and explore the possibility of life in them.
Space is an enticing branch of science that always generates curiosity among people. The movie industry has made millions from this idea.
Here are the seven best space movie options for a perfect weekend watch.
2001: A Space Odessey (1968)
Director: Stanley Kubrick
Cast: Keir Dullea, Gary Lockwood
The OG of all space movies. It beautifully presents the look, feels, and entire space experience for the audience. It also showcased the development of artificial intelligence and technology over the years.
The Martian (2015)
Director: Ridley Scott
Cast: Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain, Chiwetel Ejiofor
This movie is all about survival on Mars. How the astronaut (Matt Damon) starves himself while other astronauts risk their lives in a rocket to save him from the fiasco. It incorporates science with a beautiful message of working things together.
Star Wars (1977)
Director: George Lucas
Cast: Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Harrison Ford, Alec Guinness
This movie has fulfilled all our space fantasies. It is like a road trip in space. It shows the innumerable and ever-expanding possibilities of several scientific notions on space and astronomy. This pulp fiction was way ahead of its time.
Director: Duncan Jones
Cast: Sam Rockwell
A modern space movie, Moon concentrates on future space technology mixed with emotions and life lessons. It is a one-person show with a robot GERTY who is supposed to return to the Earth after three years. However, with fourteen days left for his journey, his emotions and experience shine throughout this film.
Director: Christopher Nolan
Cast: Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway
A visual and mental treat for all cine-goers, Christopher Nolan challenges or pushes the human mind to think further. Finding a new home for the human species on a different planet is challenging. The theme incorporates the concept of relativity and race against time in a thoroughly scientific fashion.
Apollo 13 (1995)
Director: Ron Howard
Cast: Tom Hanks, Kevin Bacon
Apollo 13 was a blockbuster movie depicting an almost fatal moon expedition gone wrong. The story revolves around how the astronauts of Apollo 13 get stranded, and NASA tries to bring them back to Earth. It is a nail-biting and gripping experience to watch this movie. This movie shows the most realistic description of space and the astronauts’ struggles to fight and overcome.
Director: Danny Boyle
Cast: Cillian Murphy, Chris Evans
Before the famous Slumdog Millionaire, Danny Boyle created this space fantasy, “Sunshine.” The plot revolves around a team of astronauts sent on a critical mission to stimulate the Sun, which is almost dying to save humankind. The movie has different scientific elements of space adventure that will keep you on edge.
Space is so massive, and it feeds us intellectually. It enables us to think further and deeper into several elements of celestial bodies. Happy Watching!
Astronomy is a branch of science applied to study astronomical bodies, and an observatory is a dedicated place to view the astronomical bodies for marine, terrestrial and celestial events.
Besides astronomical observations, observatories are also used for geophysical, volcanology, and other studies. Typically, all astronomical observatories consist of astronomical sextants, which measure the distance between stars and align astronomical phenomena.
Types of Astronomical Observatories
Depending on the type of observation needed, astronomical observatories are divided into ground-based, space-based, airborne, and observatories.
- Ground-based observatories: These observatories are located on the surface of the Earth and are used by astronomers to observe the visible light and radio signals in the electromagnetic spectrum. They are generally dome-shaped structures where optical telescopes are housed to protect them from harmful rays and other elements. The domes typically have a slit in their roof, which can be opened during observations and closed at other times. Some of these domes are rotatable for observations of the night sky. However, radio telescopes are not housed in dome-shaped structures. Observatories for optical observations are generally located on an elevation where the night sky is clear, and the air is thinner, with minimal pollution and atmospheric turbulence. Radio observatories are those observatories that are used for radio astronomy using radio telescopes in the radio portion of the EM spectrum. Such observatories have visitor housing, data reduction centers, control centers, and other supporting facilities. Radio observatories are generally located away from the city and population, where the EM wave from radio, TV and other EMI-emitting devices is minimal. Unlike the Ground-based observatories, these can also be placed in valleys, with an extra coating of EEM shielding.
- Space-based observatories: As the name suggests, these observatories are located in outer space, many of which orbit the Earth. The space telescopes in these observatories are generally installed to observe other plants at different wavelengths of the EM spectrum, which cannot penetrate the Earth’s atmosphere, thus impossible to observe from the ground. The angular resolution from the Hubble Space Telescope is much smaller than any other ground-based telescope due to the lesser air turbulence. However, their added advantage comes with a hefty price as they are expensive to install and require regular maintenance in space.
- Airborne observatories: These observatories have an advantage of height compared to the Earth’s atmosphere. They also demand lesser maintenance when compared to space telescopes. Many telescopes use airplanes to observe the infrared and other radiations in the EM spectrum.
- Volcanic observatories: These are constructed to monitor and keep track of volcanic eruptions and the impact of active volcanoes. Each observatory has a designated geographic area of observation. However, mobile observatories can be deployed on demand. They generally monitor all volcanic eruptions and prepare communities and raise awareness for active volcanoes in the geographical area.
Throughout history, astronomers have been the people who have helped discover objects being our night sky. Behind such great inventions and innovations, many astronomers have achieved breakthrough inventions that have helped better the world of studying space and the universe.
Many centuries ago, it was said that the Earth was at the center of the solar system, and we have trodden a long path from that misconception. This article will discuss the famous astronomers who helped change our view of the universe today.
Earlier, people believed that the Earth was flat. Some people, unaware of the facts, even now believe that the Earth is flat. However, between 276 and 195 BC, Eratosthenes used the sun and measured the size of the round Earth. He gave the number 24,000 miles, which was only 211 miles off the actual measurement today.
In ancient Greece, a famous mathematician and astronomer Claudius Ptolemy developed a solar system model where the Earth was at the center and other planets revolved around it. Although this model was flat-out wrong, he also predicted the presence of constellations by looking at the night sky. He also named these constellations the names which are used even today. His writings and discoveries stood authoritative for over 1,200 years. However, its model fell out after the discovery of the Orion model with the sun in the center.
Nicolaus Copernicus was a 16th-century Poland astronomer who proposed the further defined solar system model, with the sun in the center and other planets revolving around it. Although it wasn’t entirely correct, based on the positions of other worlds, it still changed how people viewed the solar system.
Kepler was a Danish astronomer who depicted the right planetary movements around the sun. He said the planets didn’t revolve in circles but followed an elliptical path. Along with this, he also discovered three laws that govern planetary movements and their orbits, which are used even by astronomers today for their scientific calculations.
Galileo was famous for building the first optical telescope, improving studies to find out the truth about the universe’s predictions. He gained inspiration from various European discoveries, which magnified objects three times. Finally, in 1607, Galileo created the telescope, which was magnified 20 times. Using this, he discovered four moons of Jupiter, called Galileo’s moons, and the rings of Saturn.
After Galileo, the Dutch scientist improvised the existence of telescopes and discovered the theory of light travel in space, which baffled many scientists and astronomers. He also discovered the largest moon Titan and made other great astronomical discoveries. He was also the first person to draw predictions about the Orion Nebula.
Halley was a British scientist who discovered the historical comet sightings and proposed that the comets that occurred in 1456, 1531, and so on, 75 years apart, were all the same. Although he died before it arrived in 1758, he was proved correct, and the comet was named after him – Halley’s comet.
Due to the depleting conditions on the Earth and many other factors, the thought of exploring other planets and creating a living on other stars has crossed our minds. However, the invention of space technologies has made it possible to study at least and understand the conditions of other plants. So, although shifting to Mars is far beyond, at least the idea of it will help make us treat the Earth better.
From micro launches to commercializing space explorations, space technology has trodden a long path and is still taking steps forward to make our dream come true. Here are some space technologies and significant breakthroughs that have kept officials busy.
Astronauts on the ISS
The recent interest in developing new space technologies has directly pointed to the efforts of Elon Musk and his SpaceX business. Since 2012, the company has been working hard to find life on Mars, commercialize space travel, and resupply regular necessities to the ISS. In 2020, the company broke all records for the commercialization of space technologies by ferrying Bob Behnke and Doug Hurney from NASA into the International Space Station. It marks the beginning of commercialization, working with other private companies like the Space Administration and National Aeronautics. Since then, companies like Space X, Virgin Galactic, and Blue Origin have worked on lifting rockets off the ground.
Return to Lunar Exploration
The interest in interplanetary exploration has been growing over the years, which has led corporations to conduct stress test opportunities to deploy the latest technologies in space, starting from the Earth’s backyard. NASA has taken steps to put an International Space Station into lunar orbit and promises its completion in the next ten years. In collaboration with other private technologies and corporations, NASA hopes to put people on the moon by 2024 with the help of Orion Capsules, which are space capsules like the Apollo but much more significant. The capsules would be able to hold a crew of 4 astronauts and also ensure their safety if there is a malfunction of the technologies used. Such developments light future voyages that can be performed into deep space in the long run.
Global Space technologies
Russia and the US were the only big names in the space technology domain. However, over the years, many countries have joined the list, helping in the most significant breakthroughs of humankind. Many space companies from Saudi Arabia to China and India have launched their mission into space, and the future holds more in this arena.
Space has always been a beacon for humanity’s exploration, which helps the entire Earth look beyond its differences. Thanks to the significant innovations and breakthroughs in space technologies that have guaranteed to unfold more unknowns of this vast universe.
Astronomy is a vast branch of physics whose study is a never-ending one! As far as we stay in this universe, the study of planets (astronomy) will continue to exist. The modern era has recorded some breakthrough innovations marked in the calendars as historical discovery events. The same was followed in ancient times when astronomers and scientists discovered objects and calculated theories based on their predictions and speculations. Here are some of the important events marked in the history of astronomy, which has helped scientists and astronomers worldwide create brake throughs.
The Big Bang Theory
The beginning of the universe is unknown. Even with the latest technologies, it is impossible to predict how it started. However, many scientists believe it began 13.7 billion years ago, with a massive explosion in space, now called the Big Bang Theory. The theory states that all the matter we see today was compressed into a tiny dot. Over time, the dot expanded into a massive explosion and created the universe we live in today.
The Heliocentric Model
This model was discovered by Copernicus in 1543 when he proposed that the Earth was at the center of the solar system and stated that all the planets, including the sun, revolved around it. Although his prediction was wrong, it gave humanity an idea of revolution and rotation.
The movement of stars and planets
The idea and the movement of rotation and revolution of the planets, as with billions of stars in the sky, was depicted thousands of years before the Mayan, Indian, Chinese, Egyptian, and Greek revolutions. Nevertheless, many scientists and early astronomers were involved in this discovery, and it is challenging to point just at one of them.
It is believed that the telescope maker – William Herschel, along with his sister, discovered and mapped the heavens, which were composed of thousands of stars, and the formation of nebulae in the process, between 1780 and 1834. He also discovered Uranus and proposed another name, GeorgiumSidus, which could have probably saved centuries of terrible jokes.
Theory of Relativity
The famous scientist Albert Einstein proposed the theory of relativity in 1915. The theory states that mass has the ability to wrap both time and space. This means large masses like the stars have the capability to bend light in a specific direction.
Dark matter, which is different from dark energy, is a matter proposed to explain the gravitational effects and their movements within the galaxies. When scientists and astronomers measured the mass of galaxies and orbital speeds of the stars within a particular universe, they noticed differences between the expected and calculated results. This led to the discovery of dark matter, which cannot be detected presently with our instruments and technologies.
Astronomy is a branch of physics that studies celestial bodies through observatories. Although several tools are used in the process, one of the primary tools is the telescope, which is used to magnify images that are light years away from the Earth. Hence, it is undoubtedly, one of the most important instruments used to study and analyze celestial objects. Furthermore, telescopes not only help in observing heavenly bodies, but they also help in analyzing the radiation signals caught by them.
The first telescope was invented by Galileo in the 17th century, which revolutionized the study of astronomy to study extraterrestrial bodies. Before the telescope’s invention, magnifying objects were never used to study and observe celestial bodies. Since then, many optical telescopes have been invented to learn about objects in electromagnetic spectra. In addition, other tools like cameras, charge-couple devices, the spectrograph, electronic computers, spacecraft, rockets, and many other instruments are used in conjunction with the telescopes to understand celestial bodies in the solar system, Milky Way galaxy, and beyond. In this article, let’s learn more about the different types of telescopes and their brief working principles.
These are also called refractors, which bend light when passing from one medium to another (from air to glass, etc.). Refractors are used to observe the moon, Jupiter, Mars, and other binary stars. The light from a celestial object passes through the objective lens and is inverted at the focal plane. At the eyepiece lens, the observer can view the magnified and inverted image of the celestial body. Many refractors also have a small lens after the eyepiece to erect the picture upright. Since any disturbances and shakiness of the telescope will also be magnified, these telescopes are mounted firmly on a platform.
These telescopes reflect the light back to the focal point and generally use parabolic or concave spherical mirrors to examine light in the visible region of the EM spectrum. In many ways, reflecting telescopes provide more advantages over refractors. One of the main advantages is that they are not subjected to chromatic aberration, making it easy for astronomers to capture the right colors. The Newtonian reflector, where a mirror is placed at a 45-degree angle near the eyepiece, is the most widely used and popular of all the reflecting telescopes.
The Schmidt telescope
In 1930, Bernhard Schmidt, an optician at the Hamburg Observatory in Germany, discovered the Schmidt telescope. This telescope allows astronomers to photograph the larger celestial areas of an object, inducing the best features of both the telescopes mentioned above. It was first used by the National Geographic Society, which made use of a 1.2-meter Schmidt telescope to photograph the blue and green regions of the northern sky in the visible spectrum.
Water is Everywhere in Space
You might think that water is scarce in space. Well, guess what? There is ample water in the area. Asteroids and Comets have water as a standard component in them. In addition, space scientists found ice on the craters of Mercury and the Moon. NASA scientists feel that Europa, Jupiter’s moon, has liquid water below its frozen surface. Although the size of Europa is much smaller than Earth, it might harbour a deep ocean in it.
Uranus tilts on its side!
As per NASA, Uranus rotates on its sides. As a result, it turns 90 degrees sideways compared to other planets. As a result, the sun shines directly on the Earth’s north and south poles. It means that half of Uranus does not see the sun for almost twenty years! One believes that Uranus went through a massive collision leading to such exciting changes.
No beautiful orange sunsets for Mars
According to Mars Rover’s first colour photograph in 2015, the sunset on Mars appears blue. NASA says that the reason for this is that the dust consists of fine particles in the Martian atmosphere that allow blue light to penetrate easily compared to other more extended wavelength colours like yellow, orange, and red.
Space is full of Space Trash.
Space is full of rocket parts, dead satellites, and other related junk that orbits the Earth ten times more rapidly than an effective bullet. It can be hazardous as a collision can cause other objects to collide. Even space travelling can get tricky because of the mist of trash rotating around the Earth. The Hollywood hit “Gravity,” starring George Clooney and Sandra Bullock, is based on this issue.
Gone in 15 seconds without a spacesuit
Space is devoid of pressure causing the air to expand. As a result, your lung will grow and tear through the tissues. It will eventually cause your body to use up all the oxygen in merely 15 seconds, making wearing a spacesuit a must in space. Other than this, it can also cause boiling of blood, loss of bowel control, and exploding capillaries.
Space is black
Sun is a massive ball of fire, and stars are everywhere in the night sky. So then, why does space appear black? The universe is continuously expanding. It isn’t fixed or perpetual. There is a continuous evolution happening, a forever rhythmic movement causing the stars to move, which is why we do not see them continuously.
Space is a mystery and an ever-evolving science that attracts people of all ages. One can only dive in for interesting facts about the cosmic details of space.
Astronomy is believed to be one of the oldest disciplines, which evolved from humankind when they showed their fascination with the night sky by counting stars. Despite the latest innovations and technologies in the modern era, it is still impossible for people to study the entire space thoroughly. As the study of the universe extends, things beyond our solar system are getting more complex to understand.
Over time, sensitive telescopes have opened a new study area to detect the weirdest objects and signals from space – like supernovas, dwarf planets, black and white holes, etc.
History of Astronomy
People of ancient times were fascinated by the sky and the objects in the sky. Although their livelihood and lifestyle revolved around the sun, stars, and the moon, they were seldom aware of the extensiveness of the universe.
The study of astronomy began in the middle ages in Asia and the Islamic world when scholars built instruments to measure the position of objects in the sky. One of the most important breakthroughs was the invention of the telescope by Galileo in the 17th century. It helped us understand our solar system and study and observe other plants.
Scientists could calculate the distance between the earth and the star in the 18th century, and the advent of capturing images beyond the earth was seen in the 19th century. Finally, the invention of spectroscopy in the second half of the 19th century opened new dimensions of research and urged astronomers to study the chemical composition of objects in the sky. Suddenly, astronomy was not just limited to our location in the universe but became a part of studying the universe and its objects.
Astronomy in the modern era
In the early part of the 20th century, astronomers wondered if the Milky Way was the only galaxy or if there were other such galaxies beyond the stars. This question was answered by Edwin Hubble, who discovered the Andromeda nebula, now called the Andromeda galaxy, millions of light years away from the earth and has its own milky way. This discovery opened new eyes in the field. They also observed that the galaxies were turning away from the earth, which concluded that the universe expanded after the Big Bang Theory.
Many breakthrough discoveries were made in the 20th century, including landing on the moon, launching the first spacecraft, Sputnik, and many more. The James Webb Space Telescope was launched in December 2021 to view objects in deep space. It is believed that the more astronomers dig into space, the more questions arise while keeping the old ones unanswered.
In today’s world, modern astronomy has many subsets and is divided into many branches, like:
- Planetary astronomy
- Stellar astronomy
- Galactic astronomy