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.