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The ASTRONET Infrastructure Roadmap

The ASTRONET Infrastructure Roadmap

The ASTRONET Infrastructure Roadmap

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Book Details:

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Year:2008
Publisher:ASTRONET
Pages:178 pages
Language:english
Since:31/05/2016
Size:2.63 MB
License:CC-BY

Content:

Science has provided the technologically advanced and comfortable existence that the majority of Europeans enjoy today compared with that of previous generations. At least as importantly, it lets us predict future events with increasing accuracy (for example, the weather) and to understand our place in the Universe in time and space. Astronomy is the oldest science and arguably the one with the greatest long-term impact on civilisation. For example, the revolution in scientific thought that occurred at the end of the Middle Ages was driven by the revelation that the Earth goes around the Sun. This was followed by the realisation, via observations of a comet and two supernovae at the end of the 16th and beginning of the 17th centuries, that the western orthodoxy that everything above the Moon was unchanging, with the planets fixed to crystal spheres, was totally wrong. Furthermore, it was realised that planetary motion could be understood in terms of physical laws that could also be applied to objects on the Earth. The greatest technology-led breakthrough came in 1609, when Galileo Galilei first pointed a telescope at the night sky and recorded in detail the wonders it revealed.

Europe was home to this scientific revolution, and since then our continent has maintained a strong astronomical community working across a diverse range of fields. Today they study everything from the interaction of the solar wind with the Earth’s upper atmosphere to cosmology. We are now living in exciting times for our science and are on the brink of truly fundamental breakthroughs in understanding. In turn, Europe is becoming an increasingly dominant player in this field. With appropriate resources targeted in a coordinated pan- European way, it can be the world leader in many of the most important areas of astronomy.

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