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Astronomy Basics

Learn the basics of astronomy with historical background and an introduction to the basic astronomy concepts, details about planets, satellites, asteroids, comets and meteors.

History of the Newtonian Reflector
06/04/2014Astronomy Basics
The Newtonian Reflector was invented by Sir Isaac Newton in 1672 and was the first to feature the revolutionary 45° mirror.
What is the Milky Way?
19/09/2013Astronomy Basics
Stars surround Earth whichever way we look out. These stars all belong to one galaxy, our galaxy, the Milky Way.
Everything should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler.Albert Einstein
Glossary of Astronomy & Photographic Terms
28/03/2013Astronomy Basics
Use this Astronomical Terms Glossary to look up the many technical terms and definitions that you may be unfamiliar with in astronomy.
Introduction to Astronomy
08/11/2010Astronomy Basics
Astronomy is an endlessly fascinating field, the oldest of the natural sciences, and one of the few areas of science that amateurs can assist the professionals and contribute to science.
How do they Calculate Distances to the Stars?
05/11/2008Astronomy Basics
Distance is usually measured with a ruler, measuring tape or a wheel. All these techniques rely on us being able to physically measure the distance between two points, but for stars and planets, this isn't very practical. Instead of measuring, astronomers have to calculate these values and they do this using a variety of methods.
Precession of the Equinoxes
05/11/2008Astronomy Basics
The precession of the equinoxes refers to the change of the Earth's rotational axis with respect to the stars in the galaxy.
Apparent Magnitude, Absolute Magnitude and Distance
22/04/2008Astronomy Basics
Apparent magnitude and Absolute magnitude are two ways of comparing an object's brightness. In this example we look at the relationship between absolute magnitude, apparent magnitude and luminosity.
Luminosity
22/04/2008Astronomy Basics
A star's luminosity is the total amount of energy radiated per second by the star and is used to compare stars in a way that does not depend on viewing position or the distance to the star.
Flux
21/04/2008Astronomy Basics
Flux is a term used to describe the brightness of a star and is a measure of the energy from an object per unit area over time. Flux calculations are used to calculate luminosity, a more meaningful representation of a stars brightness.
The Magnitude Scale
One of the fundamental concepts in astronomy is that of the Magnitude Scale. You cannot get far in astronomy without hearing a reference; even on the television weather forecast when clear skies are predicted. In this article we will look at the Magnitude Scale and what it means to you.