Talk:Astronomy

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 Definition The study of objects and processes in the observable universe, e.g. stars, planets, comets or asteroids. [d] [e]

General structure of the article

I started working on this article, and made some improvements. However, I would like to get feedback about four different problems:

  1. I could not help from noticing that the whole article looks more like a laundry list rather than something organic (and my efforts have only re-organized/expanded/corrected the laundry list): I don't really know how to improve the general structure, but suggestions are obviously welcome.
  2. To me, the introductory section looks very weak, with too much enphasis on historical aspects and amateur astronomy. Should it be completely rewritten?
  3. I think I have added a lot of information to the "astronomical observations" section, and I wonder whether it could be TOO much. Also, I suspect that my language might be too technical, at certain points. Non-expert opinions on this point are particularly important.
  4. The current final part of the "astronomical observations" should obviously be moved somewhere else. But where? should we create another section with a list of astronomical techniques (astrometry, photometry, spectroscopy etc.)? and what about subfields like astrophysics (much more than a subfield, I dare say, as it includes most of modern astronomy), astrobiology, astrochemistry, archeoastronomy (which in my opinion is part of archeology..)?

I look forward to reading your opinions --ripa 18:48, 24 January 2007 (CST)

South American

It seems to me, including the Greek, Egypts and other peoples should also include the Maya and the Inka cultures as they too build many "sun"-based observatories for the longest day. Robert Tito 10:06, 1 February 2007 (CST)

History section

I know the marching orders say be bold, but before I eliminate the History section outright, I thought it might be appropriate to solicit feedback.

The basic reason I would like to see the History section removed from the present article is because there will be a separate article on the History of Astronomy. If the history section in the current article is to even remotely do justice to the subject, it must almost become an independent article. Keeping it within limits for this article will almost inevitably turn it into a names, dates, places type of history - really no history at all.

Eliminating the history section will also leave room for expansion of the other sections of the present article without the overall article becoming too long.

James F. Perry 13:10, 14 February 2007 (CST)


I think this is very reasonable. If we have a brief paragraph and then point towards the "History of Astronomy" that should be plenty. Otherwise its going to seriously bog down everything here. -- Sarah Tuttle 13:45, 14 February 2007 (CST)

Big Bang vs big bang

When should terms like "Big Bang" be capitalized? I see it both ways in different writings on the Internet as well as in the current Astronomy article. My initial assumption was that the answer is dependant upon if the reference is to the theory or the event but now I'm not so sure. A similar question could be raised regarding other terms such as "General Relativity" and "Special Relativity". -- David Magee 15:41, 9 April 2007 (CDT)

Image needs labelling

That first image needs a label--makes a very bad first impression without one. --Larry Sanger 09:04, 10 April 2007 (CDT)

Done! and I'm new at this ... any critique appreciated :) -- David Magee 13:02, 10 April 2007 (CDT)

Hi :) So I just flipped through this article - I have some concerns about the images used. They're all very pretty, but its not obvious that they're appropriate to the sections they're gracing. In situations like this, it makes sense to actually have wavelength appropriate images that are labelled by their source, not just the object. I'll see if I have a chance to do some hunting, but David if you're still poking around with these images that would help too :) -- Sarah Tuttle 09:52, 28 May 2007 (CDT)

Astronomy vs. astrophysics vs. cosmology

I notice that most of this article is about observational astronomy, with occasional questions from cosmology thrown in. Astrophysics is an interesting term because it is generally considered synonymous with astronomy yet (to my mind, at least) it does tend to shift the focus a bit, emphasizing theoretical work and experimental work that is not based on direct observation of astronomical objects (e.g., work in plasma physics). Greg Woodhouse 10:12, 28 May 2007 (CDT)


Astronomy and Astrophysics are the same thing. We joke that we say we study astrophysics when we want people to stop talking to us on airplanes. Sometimes, astronomy is considered "observational astronomy" and astrophysics is studying the actual processes. But I think this is primarily a snobbery issue (of course, some institutions issue degrees in "astronomy & astrophysics" which I think is sort of like issuing a degree in "English & English" but there you go). Cosmology is a subfield of Astronomy/Astrophysics which deals specifically with the origins and evolution of the universe. Cosmology tends to encompass things like large scale structure (on the evolution side) and inflation & string theory (on the origin side). Of course, as we learn more about how things evolve, we realize that it may be difficult to completely seperate things like galaxy evolution from cosmology. But there you are. Everyone needs a subfield or they feel sad and alone. Or lumped together. Or something. On a not entirely related note, I'm going to start hacking away at this article, in a piecemeal sort of way. Anyone who'd like can jump in :) Pick up your CZ issued hatchet at the door. -- Sarah Tuttle 12:46, 28 May 2007 (CDT)