Astronomy is the scientific study of celestial objects. These objects basically include anything that is in space—stars, moons, planets, comets, black holes, galaxies, etc. The name for this study comes from two Greek words. Astros meaning stars, and nomos, meaning law. Therefore, this field is all about learning the laws of the stars. It is a field of physics, and most people think of NASA when they think of astronomers—creating and manning space missions to the moon, to service satellites, and to run experiments. But astronomers do a lot more than that, and this field has brought us some truly wonderful discoveries, unique images, new questions, and even a few answers to man’s greatest questions about the universe.
Anybody can be an astronomer, which is one of the really great things about the field. While professional scientists do go through years and years of education and training, an amateur astronomer does not have to go through the same training. In fact, plenty of amateurs educate themselves with various books and with their own telescopes, gazing up into the night sky like Galileo did, centuries before all of us. If you are interested in this field, there are many books that range from beginner level to advance understandings of physics. There are also magazines dedicated to understanding more about space and to bringing more people, young and old, into the ranks of amateur astronomers. If you are thinking about pursuing this study even further, you can go to college and specialize in the study of space—or even more specifically, the study of planets, or of stars, or of black holes, or anything else that you are passionate about.
Radio telescopes are located far from busy locations in an attempt to avoid interference. They look similar to satellites, using the same “dish” technology.
Optical telescopes are used to magnify an image. They are available for personal, work, or educational usage.