What Is Astronomy?
Again, let's look into the definition in the dictionary to start. It states that astronomy is "a branch of science that deals with celestial objects, space, and the physical universe as a whole" (Dictionary.com). To put more plainly, astronomy studies everything physical about the universe. However, most astronomers focus on one area for their study. There are observational, theoretical, planetary, galactic astronomers, cosmologists and a branch called astrometry. The entire community of astronomers include all these subcategories of separate, more specific studies. These astronomers all work together to try and make sense of how the universe works.
Astronomy and Community
The astronomy community is a wonderful community of knowledge and togetherness. This closeness has helped me learn much about astronomy before having taken a course in college on the subject. Studying astronomy, realizing humans are all in this life together, helps grow the connection in people. This community is connected to literacy through these aspects. Unity helps the community grow and with the unity, comes literacy. The individuals who are involved in astronomy, who themselves are literate, can grow the community's literacy. Individuals who are literate help teach others become more literate, and help understand ways to improve the science of astronomy. Edward H. Behrman accurately conveys what community literacy learning is. In his introduction, he says that how well the individuals of a community can understand other texts of previous works (experiments, concepts, and discoveries) drives their ability to convey their ideas to others. He stresses that literacy is driven by the individual's involvement in community.
Behind this text, is an example of what the (literate) astronomy community can achieve. The Moon landing was one of man's greatest achievements in history. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) had a team of many different scientists and engineers who all worked together as a community, to put the first men on the Moon back in 1969. They did this with large computers that had computing power less than what most cellphones today do. The collaboration between scientists made such an incredible task possible.
Astronomy's Relevance In School
Astronomy has helped me understand and make connections to other branches of sciences, more than I thought possible. Not only can studying astronomy improve your scientific and mathematical skills, but through the collaboration of the community it can help improve social skills. When my astronomy professor is confused about a geology or physic concept, he looks for the answer by asking other professors of those respective departments. Recently we went over that Earth is the only terrestrial planet that has tectonic plates, but he didn't know why. He later asked the geology professor why to get an answer. Because astronomy includes so many different sciences to describe how the universe works, looking for answers in other scientific professions can answer many questions.