It doesn't take much effort to touch what this science deals with. Astronomy studies the Universe, how celestial bodies move, where they are, how they appeared and what they are made of.
This science also includes our Sun, other planets, stars, comets, black holes, interplanetary matter, nebulae and galaxies. However, such simple and seemingly close things are not clear to everyone.
Helped to reveal the truth German magazine "Spektrum der Wissenschaft" collected some of the most obvious myths about astronomy that are common among ordinary people.
We see millions of stars in the sky. Looking at the sky, it seems to us that we see an infinite number of stars. However, in fact, there is no need to talk about millions of pieces, we see only about six thousand objects. It is they who shine so brightly that it can be seen with the naked eye. But about half of them are hidden behind the horizon at night. Another part is also hidden in the haze near the horizon. Therefore, even on the darkest night, in a perfectly clear sky, we can make out no more than two thousand stars. And if there are also sources of artificial lighting around, then there will be even fewer visible luminaries. From large metropolitan areas, you can usually see only a couple of dozen of the brightest stars. The glittering belt of the Milky Way is barely visible in the sky, not to mention the millions of stars merging into a single slightly light background.
Comets have one tail. Those comets that are close to the Sun have two tails. One of them is gas and the other is dusty. However, both of them do not affect the direction of the comet in any way. As soon as this cosmic body approaches the Sun, the surface begins to heat up. The frozen gas melts and transforms into a huge cloud of dust. The solar wind creates a plume of gas, which is directed in the opposite direction from the star.
The stars hang motionless in the sky. All celestial bodies are moving, including the stars. However, there are such huge distances between them that the positions of these stars relative to each other practically do not change throughout a person's life. In any case, we do not notice it. Scientists only with the help of accurate measurements can fix the movement of stars relative to each other. And to see such changes with the naked eye will take thousands of years. Few stars will shuffle so quickly that it can be captured with a photograph. The most obvious example is Barnard's star. For 174 years, it has shifted in the sky by as much as half a degree.
Planets cannot be seen without a telescope. There are only five planets that shine so brightly that they can be seen even without a telescope. These are Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn and Mercury. Throughout the year, these planets change their position in the sky. Until the telescope was invented, they were called "travel stars." Due to their proximity to the Sun, Venus and Mercury can almost always be seen during morning or evening twilight. But Mars, Saturn and Jupiter are outside the orbit of our planet, which is why they move throughout the entire sky. Jupiter appears to be the brightest star in the southwest, in the constellation Gemini. Mars appears as a red star in the east, in the constellation Virgo. And in the second half of the night, in the east, in Libra, you can see Saturn.
The unlit part of the Moon is located in the shadow of the Earth. The Moon also has its own day and night, just like our planet. The phases of the moon appear because our satellite revolves around the Earth, and we see it from different angles. The sun illuminates the surface of the moon, building at the same time this or that border of day and night. And on a new moon, the Sun, Earth and Moon line up in one line. On a full moon, the Moon and Earth change their positions. And very rarely, when all three celestial bodies during the full moon are exactly on the same line, the moon is in the earth's shadow. Then we can observe a lunar eclipse.
The brightest star in the sky is the Pole Star. In fact, this star is the most common and has an average brightness. And it stands out due to the fact that it is located very close to the celestial North Pole. This makes all the other stars seem to revolve around her, as the observer sees.
The largest known constellation is the Big Dipper. It is one of the most prominent star groups in the sky. In fact, the Big Dipper is just a part of the constellation Ursa Major. The seven brightest stars form a kind of square with a handle. They are clearly visible in the sky, and if the night is dark, then there is an opportunity to see the entire constellation. And from the handle of the bucket, you can visually finish drawing the tail of the bear. But real bears don't have such big tails. To explain this, Greek mythology created such a legend. Ostensibly for the fact that to protect the beautiful beauty Zeus turned her into a bear, grabbed her by the tail and attached her to the sky.
Black holes suck into themselves without a trace everything that falls into them. In fact, you shouldn't think of black holes as insatiable monsters. In fact, these are compact bodies in which matter is very strongly compressed. And as soon as something is near the black hole, there is a possibility that it will be torn apart by the powerful force of gravity. And even light cannot get out of the black hole. But if in place of our star, the Sun, there was a black hole of the same mass, then all the planets would rotate in the same orbits as now, absolutely unharmed.
In summer, the Earth approaches the Sun. This is a fairly popular myth. Many believe that the summer is warmer because our planet is getting closer to the Sun. In fact, the seasons do not arise at all due to the fact that our planet's orbit is elliptical. The different tilts of our axis in relation to the trajectory of the Earth are to blame for this. So it turns out that in the Northern Hemisphere, summer begins when this part is tilted closer to the Sun. Winter comes when the hemisphere deviates from the star. And so it turns out that the Earth is closest to the Sun precisely at the beginning of January, just at the onset of winter in the Northern Hemisphere, and summer in the Southern.
The light year is very long. In fact, here we are talking not about time, but about distance. This measure determines the distance that a ray of light travels in a year. The speed of propagation of light is about 300 thousand kilometers per second. Thus, a light year is a distance of 9.5 billion kilometers. This unit can measure the distance from the Earth to other stars. The star Proxima Centauri, the closest star to our system, is about four light years away. And from the Sun to the Earth only about 150 million kilometers, or only eight light minutes.
Astronomers have found an image of a human face on Mars. Pictures of a certain formation on Mars were very popular at one time. After all, from space it is very similar that on the surface there is something that looks like a giant human face. Theories immediately surfaced that only aliens could have created it. However, the photo was taken long ago, the latest technological advances and the flight of the NASA apparatus to Mars finally convinced all fans of the ufological version that this is a simple hill.
Copernicus was the first to discover the rotation of the Earth around the Sun. In fact, assumptions about this have been encountered before. Back in the seventh century BC. some ancient thinkers spoke out in favor of the heliocentric system of the world.
NASA spent millions of dollars to invent a pen, and the Russians used a pencil. This story makes fun of simple-minded Americans and extols the ingenuity of the Russians. Indeed, at one time there was a problem of inventing a writing instrument for space. Paul Fisher, at his own expense, by the way, invented a sealed pen, which can be written not only in space, but also in the depths of the ocean. Then the space agency immediately acquired 400 of these items at a price of $ 6. Unique pens can be purchased today by anyone for a price of $ 50 using the Internet. Even the Soviet Union resorted to such a simple and inexpensive solution. And today in space, not pencils are used, but Fischer's special pens.
The Great Wall of China can be seen from space with the naked eye. In reality, this object can not be seen either from low Earth orbit, much less from the surface of the Moon. Astronauts say that the Great Wall of China is too narrow and repeats the relief with its contours and color, which prevents its detection.
From a well or a deep hole, you can even see the stars in the daytime. The author of this old myth is Aristotle himself. In fact, this is not the case, and you can prove it using simple logic. The lower you go into the well, the less your view will be. The shadow from the walls will make the sky brighter, not darker, which is necessary for gazing at the stars.
The hottest planet in our system is Mercury. This seems logical, because this planet is closest to the Sun. It just turns out that the highest temperature is on the surface of Venus. This is achieved due to the presence of the greenhouse effect there.
The telescope was invented by Galileo Galilei. In 1608, the Dutch master John Lippersgey demonstrated a telescope in The Hague. However, he was denied a patent, because other masters have already created something similar. Then, the first telescopes were based on a biconvex lens. But Galileo was the first to think of looking at the sky with such an instrument. In 1609, the scientist created his first telescope with a threefold magnification, and soon also a half-meter eightfold telescope. The very same name appeared in 1611, thanks to the mathematician Demisiani.