In ancient Greece and other early civilizations, astronomy consisted largely of astrometry, measuring positions of stars and planets in the sky.
Astronomy is one of the oldest sciences, with a scientific methodology existing at the time of Ancient Greece and advanced observation techniques possibly much earlier as seen in the study of archaeoastronomy.
Astronomy (Greek: ?????????? = ?????? + ?????, astronomia = astron + nomos, literally, "law of the stars") is the science of celestial phenomena that originate outside Earth's atmosphere.
The emergence of astronomy as a science following the scientific method is very important to the development of science in general.
Motions and positions of objects are now more easily determined, and modern astronomy is more concerned with observing and understanding the actual physical nature of celestial objects.
Observational astronomy was mostly stagnant in medieval Europe, but flourished in the Iranian world and other parts of Islamic realm.
Powerful gamma rays can, however be detected by the large air showers they produce, and the study of cosmic rays can also be regarded as a branch of astronomy.
Astronomy is one of the few sciences where amateurs can still play an active role, especially in the discovery and monitoring of transient phenomena.
Optical and radio astronomy can be performed with ground-based observatories, because the atmosphere is transparent at the wavelengths being detected.
The ancient Greeks made important contributions to astronomy, among them the definition of the magnitude system.
Observational astronomy is concerned mostly with acquiring data, which involves building and maintaining instruments and processing the resulting information; this branch is at times referred to as "astrometry" or simply as "astronomy."
Categorization by the region of space under study (for example, Galactic astronomy, Planetary Sciences); by subject, such as star formation or cosmology; or by the method used for obtaining information.