Blog

SCIENTIFIC METHOD-ASTRONOMY OR SCIENTIFIC LAB?

SCIENTIFIC METHOD

The Scientific method is defined as a method of procedure which explains how to characterize natural science through a sequential systematic observation, measurement, and experiment, followed by the formulation, testing, and modification of hypotheses.

Astronomy, as a scientific method, is defined as a systematic analytical observation of various celestial and planetary bodies located far away from the Earth with the help of various types of high technology telescopes such as Infrared Telescopes, Radio Telescopes, Optical Telescopes, etc. or through the naked eye, measurement of the distances of various celestial and planetary bodies located away from the Earth through a series of devised techniques, measurement of the diameters of various celestial bodies located away from the Earth, studying of the age of the Universe, etc., gathering and carefully analyzing the data with the help of various Supercomputers to get the desired results, followed by the setting up of a hypothesis which explains the observed phenomena to explain the given results.

The predictions made by the hypotheses are then tested with the data. If the hypotheses do not match the results gathered from the telescopes, then the previous hypotheses have to be abandoned or changed and a new modified one has to be carefully made which explains the observed phenomenon with absolute certainty. 

Any lab science like Chemistry or Biology, as a scientific method is defined as careful analysis and observation of a newly discovered element or some new organism for example with the help of some microscopes or naked eye performed in a controlled lab environment, measurement of the half-life of the newly discovered element, it’s expected lifetime, etc. or the expected lifetime of the organism, followed by the experimenting on the particle discovered to classify it’s properties or analyzing the characteristics of the newly discovered organism by seeing how it reacts to various vaccines, thereby setting up a hypothesis which explains the behavior of the particle or the organism, testing it with the data obtained from experiments performed on them. If the predictions made by the hypotheses do not match the desired results, then the existing hypotheses have to be changed or modified and a new one has to be made which explains the given results.

As we can see from the definition of both astronomy and a lab science like chemistry or biology, both differ significantly in their areas of operations.

Comparison

As discussed in the above definition of Astronomy as a Scientific Method, we came to understand that Astronomy involves computations of large amounts of data gathered from different types of telescopes such as Radio, Optical, and Infrared. The data is in the order of exabytes. This data is analyzed through Supercomputers which performs calculations significantly faster than any normal computer (It has the ability to perform calculations at that speed that any normal computer will take years to do so.) However, in lab science such as Chemistry or Biology, it involves on the ground field study of the subject through various sequential analysis of the object. The data can be analyzed through normal computers only and don’t need the help of supercomputers. It involves setting up hypotheses of various observations based on lab results and devising various mechanisms to prove the same.

Book:-

Astronomy

A Textbook of Astronomy and Astrophysics

Written by- Sukhjit Singh, he is a student currently pursuing B.Sc. Mathematics honors from SGTB Khalsa College, Delhi University. He aims at developing multiple skills by taking up exciting projects and wants to be a professor in Mathematics.

Edited by- Shweta, Team SciComm