We observe the sky day and night, we hear about space missions and new explorations of our universe. But why are we so interested in them?
Sky observations were vital for humans in ancient times, as they are today. Humans have gained a lot by observing the Universe, the stars, planet trajectories, the stars' position, color, the Sun and the Moon. From prehistorical times, astronomy was necessary for agriculture, traveling, navigation, for predicting the climate, and at the same time it gave new insights into the interpretation of nature. Astronomy gave humans a unique opportunity to understand the world in terms of Nature and not of gods and superstitions. Such good examples are the Cosmological theories that explain how the world was formed and what is its future.
Over the last two centuries, the exploration of our Cosmos became more and more interesting due to the advancement of technology. Advanced telescopes have been constructed; numerous space missions were conducted; more and more young people are working in attractive scientific projects at universities and research centers. But why do we still explore our Universe? Why do we want to make everything clear and explain all the processes that take place in terms of physics, mathematics and biology? Because everything is made of star dust; we are made of star dust. In other words, we want to know ourselves better, we want to explore ourselves. Thus, many new professions in astrophysics such as data analysts, computer programmers, engineers specializing in modern technology materials etc., have emerged.
The course will start with classical notions learned in high schools, and then will dig deeper into our views about the Cosmos, our Solar System, the planets, satellites, comets and asteroids.
After this, we will get a glimpse of the technology behind astronomy and astrophysics: what are the methods and means to discover the universe? How has technology contributed to the construction of telescopes, spacecrafts and to the development of space travel? What are we expecting from space missions?
We will also focus on the methodology of the science of astronomy: Why is astronomy the oldest of the natural sciences, dating back to antiquity? For what reasons was astronomy very popular in ancient Greece? Which is the difference between astronomy and astrophysics? Why is the Cosmos comprehensible? Why do we need the Sun to live? How important is the Greenhouse effect and the phenomenon of Climate change on the Earth in comparison to other planets of the Solar System?
Young women and men, future scientists, and above all citizens, should keep all these important questions in mind while approaching astronomy and astrophysics both as a field of study and as future work fulfillment.