March 25, 2023


Complete Canadian News World

Great astronomical discoveries. Our place in the universe

Astronomers often operate in the position of a theorist or observer. Theorists invent models of reality, which are then verified by observers – they create a description, usually in the language of mathematics, and predict the behavior of a particular object or phenomenon. Models are not reality, but they are an attempt to better or worse describe them. Models that reproduce observed reality exceptionally well, as well as make predictions consistent with other observations, are sometimes elevated to the level of laws of physics, but they are also not a fact, but a description of it. Scientific findings, as opposed to unverifiable and by definition indisputable “unearthed facts”, are subject to modification and improvements. I stress openness to verification and the need for improvement as the essence of science, because these features are sometimes interpreted as unfavorable, when the exact opposite is true.

Humanity has practiced astronomy “forever” and it was initially associated with attempts to understand reality based on religion. Therefore, the first astronomers were more or less priests. Evidence of their activity is, for example, a piece carved from mammoth bone with the constellation Orion marked over 30,000 years ago. Years and similar ancient drawings on a cave wall in Lascaux, France depict the Pleiades, the Summer Triangle, and the Crown of the North.