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What is astronomy?

This picture was taken by a visitor to the observatory. The Moon and Venus lie just to the left of the radio telescope at HartRAO, while the beam of the Satellite Laser Ranger passes overhead. Source: HartRAO

Astronomy is the study of the universe beyond the Earth's atmosphere. The science does not claim to predict your future or lend credence to the practises of Astrology. Rather through the use of Physics principles, Astronomy explains the evolution of the universe and through sound mathematical simulations forecasts its development. Although Astronomy has been around for thousands of years and is perhaps the oldest science, it is only in the last century and particularly the last few decades that we have developed the technology to study the universe in greater detail. Every day we are gathering new data on everything from galaxy formation to black holes to the big bang itself using a staggering array of multi-wavelength telescopes on the ground and in space. We continue to answer one of humankind's most burning questions: "What is out there?" but perhaps more impressive is the great progress that has been made in answering the question "How does it all work?"

An initiative of the Department of Science and Technology (DST)
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