Celestial observation

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A celestial observation is the measurement of the angular distance of a celestial body from the observer to the horizon, usually with a sextant.

Celestial observation measurements are not absolute, rather vary according to what is being observed and how it is recorded. While scientists may be able to make correlations based on naked eye observations, other findings require tools and additional recordings to result in anything significant. Some recordings can include pictorial observations of a celestial body, gravitational lensing of galactic light, and recordings of light sparks by spectroscope.[1] These although do not measure angular distance like fist explained typical of a celestial observation, they do take into account the light emissions and transfer across the sky or clusters. While not all observations are as simple as observing the skies of celestial bodies and recording what is seen by the naked eye or through a telescope, science has been able to further its reach. Astronomical recordings involve processes and technological devices that take into account parameters that can correlations into finds of great achievement in some cases.[2]


In every scientific aspect over the years there numerous variables and parameters, that although originate from mathematics, simply involves a set of measurable independent factors that define a system or determine its behaviour in experimentation.[3] The parameters of a celestial observation that makes it significant in science, include the position, timing, and wavelength.[4] Within these parameters observers can determine secpifications that remain consistent and allow correlations with accurate applications.[5] Taking into account every scientist must observe and understand the extent of these parameters and their effects on a find or unknown observation; otherwise the data is unvaild and seen as unreliable.


The position indicates in which direction the observation is made to allow the observer to point the telescope accurately to at least one-tenth of a minute. This connection in position is important due to the process of the Earth's rotation axis. Since the Earth rotates within 24 hours the position of any celestial body can change and therefore is important that it is documented properly when recording celestial observation.


The time plays an important role in any astronomical observations at the start and the end of the exposure. Since light travels at 3 million meters per second, one's viewing time is short-lived, therefore recording time of an observations can result in the time elapse of a celestial body light exposure to our naked eye.


The wavelength corresponds to the filters of light isolated that pass through celestial body. The spectrum of light is large and yet small to the naked eye, therefore the recording of wavelength shows exactly what color on the spectrum is being emitted. While mainly the measurement of wavelength is used to characterize radiation and frequency, it is as important in astronomical senses too.

Observation Types[edit]

Pictorial Observations[edit]

Pictorial Observation is simply the interpretation of a viewed subject transcribed into a drawing to be better expressed and understood. Ancient Astronomy started in civilizations in China, Egypt, Greece, and India, with theories of the importance of stars, planets, and the existence of our galaxy. Scientist used telescopes and calendars to map out position of celestial bodies and date them according to the Earth rotational period.[6] Cultures used pictorial observations not only to document findings but to celebrate ceremonies and symbols of a greater power yet to be understood, like galaxy structures and planet formation. With ttime moving so did the technology in celestial observation and physical science of astronomy.[7]

Gravitational Lensing[edit]

Gravitational lensing is an observation that includes bending light over a span of a galaxy. Recently Lee Rannals, for redorbit.com blogs, cited how researchers have been able to see the light from a galaxy approximately 10 billion light-years away from earth through a cluster of celestial bodies.[8] The fact that that this is possible shows science's best achievement to estimate how far or for how long this galaxy has been in existence; perhaps even the beginning of viewing even bigger galaxies across the skies.

Light Emissions[edit]

Light emissions measured by a spectroscope are achieved using multilayered structures of small-moleculed organic semiconductors and must be controlled, as the shape of the emission profile, that is, the spatial distribution of the emitting excitons across the active layer.[9]

Devices and Processes[edit]


Methods of observation can range from small scale base observatories to large scale satellite imaging systems. Tools in observation can include the naked eye telescope to a spherical astrolabe; both these allow the observer to view light emission across the galaxy or simply within a quadrant that appers as a star, planet, or a galaxy cluster.[10] The most common tool in observations is the telescope since it is easily used and accessible to the public, the use of an observatory or satellite imaging is far more advanced and typically reserved for scientific findings. Mirrors and lenses are important in imaging observations to focus light emissions to one focal point to display a whole image.[11]


Science would not exist is not for recorded findings in history. From ancient civilization people have been documenting changes in culture and especially physical science such as astronomy. These celestial observations made by simple men have resulted in further investigations by today's scientists. Theories of celestial bodies were made by pictorial observations and then expanded upon through satellite imaging and telescopic recordings. How one processes their observation relates to what they wish to convey or discover, in other words, what exposure do they wish to filter out of the sky to document position and time and to what extend do these effect the celestial body in view? This is what makes an astronomical process scientific not so much chemical or biological but physical.[12]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ West, R. "Astronomical observations: General instructions.". Astronomy on-line. Retrieved 23 March 2013. 
  2. ^ West, R. "Astronomical observations: General instructions.". Astronomy on-line. Retrieved 23 March 2013. 
  3. ^ Heritage, American. "Parameters". Dictionary of English Language. Houghton Mifflin Company. Retrieved 28 March 2013. 
  4. ^ West, R. "Astronomical observations: General instructions.". Astronomy on-line. Retrieved 23 March 2013. 
  5. ^ W. Allen, Steven; August E. Evrard; Adam B. Mantz (24 March 2011). "Cosmological Parameters from Observations of Galaxy Clusters". Cosmology and Extragalactic Astrophysics 1. Retrieved 28 March 2013. 
  6. ^ Astronomy#Observational astronomy
  7. ^ Astronomy#Observational astronomy
  8. ^ Rannals, Lee. "Researchers make celestial observations despite astronomical odds". Armchair Astronaut; RedOrbit.com. Retrieved 23 March 2013. 
  9. ^ van Mensfoort, S. L.M (14 March 2010). "Measuring the light emission profile in organic light-emitting diodes with nanometre spatial resolution". Nature Photonics 4: 329–335. doi:10.1038/nphoton.2010.32. Retrieved 23 March 2013. 
  10. ^ ASMM. "Astronomical Devices". Retrieved 22 March 2013. 
  11. ^ West, R. "Astronomical observations: General instructions". Retrieved 23 March 2013. 
  12. ^ West, R. "Astronomical observations: General instructions". Retrieved 23 March 2013.