Outline of astronomy

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Mauna Kea in Hawaii is one of the world's premier observatory sites. Pictured is the W. M. Keck Observatory, an optical interferometer.

The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to astronomy:

Astronomy – studies the universe beyond Earth, including its formation and development, and the evolution, physics, chemistry, meteorology, and motion of celestial objects (such as galaxies, planets, etc.) and phenomena that originate outside the atmosphere of Earth (such as the cosmic background radiation).

Nature of astronomy[edit]

Astronomy can be described as all of the following:

  • An academic discipline: one with academic departments, curricula and degrees; national and international societies; and specialized journals.
  • A scientific field (a branch of science) – widely-recognized category of specialized expertise within science, and typically embodies its own terminology and nomenclature. Such a field will usually be represented by one or more scientific journals, where peer reviewed research is published.

Branches of astronomy[edit]

The subdisciplines of observational astronomy are generally made by the specifications of the detectors:

General techniques for astronomical research are also convenient ways of dividing the field:

  • Photometry – study of how bright celestial objects are when passed through different filters
  • Spectroscopy – study of the spectra of astronomical objects
  • Astrometry – study of the position of objects in the sky and their changes of position. Defines the system of coordinates used and the kinematics of objects in our galaxy.

Other disciplines that may be considered part of astronomy:

History of astronomy[edit]

Basic astronomical phenomena[edit]

Instruments, measurement and units[edit]

Astronomical objects[edit]

Astronomical object

Solar system[edit]

The Sun Mercury Venus The Moon Earth Mars Phobos and Deimos Ceres The main asteroid belt Jupiter Moons of Jupiter Rings of Jupiter Saturn Moons of Saturn Rings of Saturn Uranus Moons of Uranus Rings of Uranus Neptune Moons of Neptune Rings of Neptune Pluto Moons of Pluto Haumea Moons of Haumea Makemake The Kuiper Belt Eris Dysnomia The Scattered Disc The Hills Cloud The Oort CloudSolar System Template Final.png



Small solar system bodies[edit]

Extrasolar planets[edit]

  • Extrasolar planet – planet outside the Solar System. A total of 899 such planets (in 698 planetary systems, including 133 multiple planetary systems) have been identified as of 27 June 2013.

Stars and stellar objects[edit]


Variable stars[edit]


Black holes[edit]

Artist's representation of a black hole.


The 88 modern constellations[edit]

Constellation history[edit]

The 48 constellations listed by Ptolemy after 150 AD[edit]
The 41 additional constellations added in the 16th and 17th centuries[edit]
Obsolete constellations including Ptolemy's Argo Navis[edit]

Clusters and nebulae[edit]



Space exploration[edit]

See: Outline of space exploration


Public sector space agencies[edit]

North Africa[edit]
North America[edit]
South America[edit]
East Asia[edit]
Southeast Asia[edit]
South Asia[edit]
Southwest Asia[edit]
Central Asia[edit]

1 Preceded by the Soviet space program

Books and publications[edit]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "astrophysics". Merriam-Webster, Incorporated. Retrieved 2011-05-22. 

External links[edit]