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Astronomy for kids

Astronomy is the scientific study of the stars, planets, and other heavenly bodies (see Radio astronomy also). For many thousands of years men have watched the skies and tried to explain what they have seen there. The movements of the Sun, the Moon, and some stars were used by early Man as a calendar to guide him in planting and reaping his crops.

The astronomer, like any other scientist, needs a laboratory and instruments. His 'laboratory' is called an observatory. His most important instrument is the telescope. Most observatories are equipped with various kinds of telescopes.

Astronomy 4 kids - Large Magellan Cloud

Astronomy 4 kids

Large Magellanic Cloud - the galaxy is close to our. Photo by European Southern Observatory

Powerful telescopes are required because the astronomer is studying objects so far away that their distances are measured not in miles but in light-years. One light-year is the distance traveled by a ray of light in one year; it is nearly six million million (6,000,000,000,000) miles. Some people study the stars and planets as a hobby. Many important discoveries have been made by amateur astronomers using small telescopes.

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