10 giant steps in astronomy
1 – Time and Place
The dawn of summer solstice that is admired by Stonehenge is so beautiful that the place is permanently filled with Druids of modern times who go there to see it. It is seen in the same line with the Heel Stone, one of the large rocks of that monument. Recent studies confirm us that ancient Celts saw the sunrise from the Heel Stone during the winter solstice. Even more impressive is the monument, which belongs to the year 300 BC, located in the Chankillo, in Peru, where a line of 13 towers marks the points where the sun rises in different months of the year. Primitive civilizations didn’t use the sky to measure time: Polynesians used the stars to sail from Hawaii to New Zealand, in a distance of 7000 km.
2 – The mirror of the Earth
Chinese astronomers were the first to perform accurate studies of the cosmos. They considered the sky to be a mirror of the earth. Stars represented different regions of China. The explosion of a star inside a community would show a rebellion in the respective province. It is the merit of the Chinese astronomers for being the first to study the Halley Comet in 240 BC, and to detect a supernova in 1054, the remains of which formed a large extent gases.
3 – The sky order
The Greek philosopher was one of the first to reject the widespread idea that the earth was probably flat. In century Vl BC he taught his pupils that the earth had to be spherical due to the shape of his shadow projected on the Moon during a Moon Eclipse. Almost 200 years later, Aristrakh said that earth moved around the sun but his idea was not very successful. Instead, thanks to Ptolemy, the concept of ancient Greek astronomy was finally abandoned, to reach the conclusion, about the year 150, that the planets made small circles moving around the earth which made a greater circle. His theory was accepted in the astronomical field for more than 1400 years.
4 – “And yet it moves”
The man’s conviction as a center of the universe had a radical change in 1543, when the Polish Nicolas Copernicus published his work in which he showed how the earth was not positioned in the center of the cosmos, but it is a simple planet moving around the sun. The truth of his theory was proved only in 1610, when Galileo Galilee led the telescope to the sky. Galileo noted that Saturn was surrounded by 4 Moons (so it was not true that earth could not move without leaving the Moon behind) and observed the phases of Venus, a prove that the planet moved around the sun. The church banned Galileo’s books, but could not prevent the imposition of his evidence.
5 – Gravity matter
When in 1665 the University of Cambridge was closed because of an epidemic, Isaac Newton returned to his home in Woolsthrope Manor, in Lincolnshire, where he formulated the famous law of gravity, according to which every thing in the universe attracts another and is attracted by themselves. However, he did not make it public until he was persuaded by Edmond Halley, that Newton used the law to demonstrate that the comets which were seen in the years 1531, 1607 and 1682 were the same. This law has always allowed Halley to predict the return of comets in 1758. Even today, Comet bears his name.
6 – New Worlds
On 13 March 1871 a German astronomer doubled the size of the solar system. William Herschel observed a distant planet from the Sun that was twice the distance of Saturn itself. It was called Uranus. Later astronomers realized that Uranus suffered a gravitational push from a distant planet, and this led to the discovery of Neptune in 1846. Pluto, detected for the first time in 1930, initially was determined as a planet, but such a status was modified in 2006, when it went down in the rankings as “nanoplans” due to the small dimensions.
7- Electrical station of stars
“Regarding to the stars, we will never be able to study their chemical composition”, wrote the French philosopher Auguste Comte in 1835. But only 20 years later, the Germans Gustav Kirchoff and Robert Bunsen opposed it. They identified the present elements in the Sun comparing the dark lines of its spectrum with the present spectrum in the laboratory such as hydrogen and iron. In 1920, the British astronomer Cecilia Payne elaborated the relative sizes of the elements, and proved that most of the universe consists of hydrogen. This served to demonstrate how the electrical station of stars is essentially a hydrogen bomb that moves in space. Astro-physician Fred Hoyle showed how such elements are combined in a way that form stars.
8 – Big Bang
In the years twenty the American astronomer Edwin Hubble, together with Milton Humason discovered that galaxies get away from each other. “The universe is in constant expanding”, says the Belgium Georges Lamaitre, “because it was born from the outbreak of an “initial atom”, which is called Big Bang”. All this was proved at last in 1965, when American scientists Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson discovered the actual effects of the Big Bang.
9 – The shining black
U.S. Army scientist, Stanley Hey, couldn’t believe his eyes when in February 1942 noticed what looked like the explosion of German radar, unless it had been the fact that it moved in the sky all day. Hey realized that it was a concession coming from the sun and immediately announced the astronomers that had already discovered pulsar-et-sphere matter areas the size of a city, but with the same size as the sun – and the black holes. The holes are cosmic monsters that weigh as much as a milliard suns, and their gravity is so strong that even light itself is held by their size. Once the gas of the stars starts to come around the black hole, the black hole rotates like a hundred galaxies in a vortex that astronomers call “Quasar”.
10 – Search of life in other worlds
There is only one place in the entire universe where we are sure that there is life, and it is our earth. But that does not mean that life cannot be detected on another planet. According to what is revealed by different experiments conducted by NASA in 1976, Mars is probably the home of many microorganisms. Other possible places inside the solar system are oceans covered by the ice of Europe. There is possible to be life on other planets: ultimately, astronomers have discovered over 300 distant planets that move around other stars and the SETI program scientists are building a receiver in California, Allen Telescope Array, which can detect transmissions coming from intelligent life forms far from the solar system.