Friday, April 01, 2016

Astronomy, a fitting beginning to this series of posts about Space.

The moon shot from Klaserie in the middle of winter away from any city lights
God said, 'Let there be lights in the vault of heaven to separate day from night, and let them serve as signs both for festivals and for seasons and years. Let them also shine in the vault of heaven to give light on Earth.'
So it was; God made the two great lights, the greater to govern the day and the lesser to govern the night; and with them he made the stars.
Genesis 1 verses 14 to 16.
We've all heard of astronomy, we may even know an actual astronomer but what is it and what do astronomers do.
Well it seems astronomy has been taking place for quite a long time now, possibly thousands of years, actually definitely for thousands of years. It is apparently the study of extra-atmospheric objects. In other words looking at things like the moon, the sun and things as far away as the edge of the universe. I'm not quite sure why there would even be an edge to the universe. What would be on the other side of that edge? Surely anything outside of the universe boundary would still be within the universe? The definition includes the description, "All of space and everything in it." All of space? So what is on the other side of all of space, surely more space. Anyway that's my way of seeing things despite scientists giving the universe a limit.
Today there are a whole lot of different instruments used for study including space craft and telescopes but it wasn't always that way. Astronomy was first studied using nothing but ones eyes. You can but imagine what the earliest shepherds must have seen in the skies while watching over their flocks and just imagine what their thoughts must have been. On a moonless night the sky must have ablaze with millions of points of light with no explanation coming to mind at all.
In time things like stone circles began to be erected to try and plot the seasonal migration of these points of light which in turn gave indications of the seasons. People aren't all that stupid. They would have realized that when that particular point of light started rising from the horizon in that particular position, then things were warming up, or going to get colder, depending on which point of light they were observing. This gave rise to the notion of seasons and so on. It also gave rise to astrology, the timing of one's birth in relation to certain light point configurations.
Things have indeed changed over the millennia. Today you probably know more about space and what it contains than some of the most famous astronomers of all time. People like Ptolemy, a Roman/Greek/Arab astronomer who believed in a Geocentric universe in which the sun, moon and stars revolved around the Earth in set cycles. This is essentially due to the efforts of scientists who have become astronomers and studied the universe beyond our atmosphere using telescopes and radio antenna.
In the following posts I will be writing about all sorts of things encompassed by this amazing subject and where possible give references to what is written in the bible about each subject.

1 comment:

  1. A wonderful childhood memory I have is of sleeping outside overnight on a cot. My family was visiting relatives who had a sheep farm in the country in another state. They didn't have extra room in the house for me and my siblings, so we set up camp outside. I tucked into my sleeping bag and fell asleep in wonderment looking at the millions of stars in the night sky. They seemed to be crammed together, and I felt as if I could reach up and grab fistfuls of them. When I have the opportunity to be outside at night away from city lights, I look at the stars and think of how for centuries, sailors and explorers have used these same stars to guide them across oceans and continents. It is a truly beautiful creation.