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What is Astronomy?

“Despite all that astronomy has taught us of the Universe, humanity is but a fisherman on the shores of a vast ocean, pondering the mysteries of her depths.” - Ben Lovatt

The word Astronomy itself derives from the Greek words astron, "star" and -nomy from nomos, "law". In the broadest terms, astronomy can be considered the study of celestial objects and other phenomena originating from beyond the Earth's atmosphere.

Astronomy is the oldest of the natural sciences, originating in the pre-historical period of human development. Stemming from mythological, astrological and religious practices, humanity's understanding and study of the 'heavens' has changed drastically throughout the ages. Early astronomy often involved studying the changing position of the Sun against the horizon and the charting of stars (a development that would later lead to the creation of the calendar). It was also used for astrological purposes (a belief that the relative positions of celestial bodies can provide insight about personality, society and natural matters).