Adventures in Astronomy

Why Astronomy?
For as long as people have been looking at the night sky, they have wondered about the structure and character of distant worlds. But through all of recorded history, up to the eary 17th century, the natural human curiosity about these worlds went largely unsatisfied because observations were limited to what could be observed with the optically unaided eye. Today, with modern, modestly priced telescopes, even the most casual of observers can view, from the convenience of his or her own backyard, an extremely wide range of celestial objects with a clarity and level of detail that would have amazed the ancients.

You can explore hundreds of galaxies, gas clouds (nebulae), and star clusters, as well as the Moon, planets and comets with a Meade telescope. The powerful light-gathering capability of a Meade telescope can transform simple points of light into objects of incredible detail. You will be enriched with the experience of seeing first-hand some of nature’s most awesome spectacles.

Observing With Your Telescope
In the early 17 th century Italian Scientist Galileo, using a telescope turned it skyward instead of looking at the distant trees and mountains. What he saw, and what he realized about what he saw, has forever changed the way mankind thinks about the universe. Imagine what it must have been like being the first human to see moons revolve around the planet Jupiter or to see the changing phases of Venus! Because of his observations, Galileo correctly realized Earth’s movement and position around the Sun, and in doing so, gave birth to modern astronomy. Yet Galileo’s telescope was so crude, he could not clearly make out the rings of Saturn.

Unlike other sciences, astronomy welcomes contributions from amateurs. Much of the knowledge we have on subjects such as comets, meteor showers, variable stars, the Moon, and our solar system comes from observations made by amateur astronomers. So as you look through your Meade telescope, keep in mind Galileo. To him, a telescope was not merely a machine made of glass and metal, but something far more – a window through which the beating heart of the universe might be observed.




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