Earth is the third planet from the Sun and the only astronomical object known to harbor life. According to radiometric dating and other sources of evidence, Earth formed over 4.5 billion years ago. Earth's gravity interacts with other objects in space the Sun and the Moon, Earth's only natural satellite. Earth revolves around the Sun in a period known as an Earth year. During this time, Earth rotates about its axis about 366.26 times. Earth's axis of rotation is tilted with respect to its orbital plane; the gravitational interaction between Earth and the Moon causes ocean tides, stabilizes Earth's orientation on its axis, slows its rotation. Earth is the largest of the four terrestrial planets. Earth's lithosphere is divided into several rigid tectonic plates that migrate across the surface over periods of many millions of years. About 71% of Earth's surface is covered with water by oceans; the remaining 29% is land consisting of continents and islands that together have many lakes and other sources of water that contribute to the hydrosphere.
The majority of Earth's polar regions are covered in ice, including the Antarctic ice sheet and the sea ice of the Arctic ice pack. Earth's interior remains active with a solid iron inner core, a liquid outer core that generates the Earth's magnetic field, a convecting mantle that drives plate tectonics. Within the first billion years of Earth's history, life appeared in the oceans and began to affect the Earth's atmosphere and surface, leading to the proliferation of aerobic and anaerobic organisms; some geological evidence indicates. Since the combination of Earth's distance from the Sun, physical properties, geological history have allowed life to evolve and thrive. In the history of the Earth, biodiversity has gone through long periods of expansion punctuated by mass extinction events. Over 99% of all species that lived on Earth are extinct. Estimates of the number of species on Earth today vary widely. Over 7.6 billion humans live on Earth and depend on its biosphere and natural resources for their survival.
Humans have developed diverse cultures. The modern English word Earth developed from a wide variety of Middle English forms, which derived from an Old English noun most spelled eorðe, it has cognates in every Germanic language, their proto-Germanic root has been reconstructed as *erþō. In its earliest appearances, eorðe was being used to translate the many senses of Latin terra and Greek γῆ: the ground, its soil, dry land, the human world, the surface of the world, the globe itself; as with Terra and Gaia, Earth was a personified goddess in Germanic paganism: the Angles were listed by Tacitus as among the devotees of Nerthus, Norse mythology included Jörð, a giantess given as the mother of Thor. Earth was written in lowercase, from early Middle English, its definite sense as "the globe" was expressed as the earth. By Early Modern English, many nouns were capitalized, the earth became the Earth when referenced along with other heavenly bodies. More the name is sometimes given as Earth, by analogy with the names of the other planets.
House styles now vary: Oxford spelling recognizes the lowercase form as the most common, with the capitalized form an acceptable variant. Another convention capitalizes "Earth" when appearing as a name but writes it in lowercase when preceded by the, it always appears in lowercase in colloquial expressions such as "what on earth are you doing?" The oldest material found in the Solar System is dated to 4.5672±0.0006 billion years ago. By 4.54±0.04 Bya the primordial Earth had formed. The bodies in the Solar System evolved with the Sun. In theory, a solar nebula partitions a volume out of a molecular cloud by gravitational collapse, which begins to spin and flatten into a circumstellar disk, the planets grow out of that disk with the Sun. A nebula contains gas, ice grains, dust. According to nebular theory, planetesimals formed by accretion, with the primordial Earth taking 10–20 million years to form. A subject of research is the formation of some 4.53 Bya. A leading hypothesis is that it was formed by accretion from material loosed from Earth after a Mars-sized object, named Theia, hit Earth.
In this view, the mass of Theia was 10 percent of Earth, it hit Earth with a glancing blow and some of its mass merged with Earth. Between 4.1 and 3.8 Bya, numerous asteroid impacts during the Late Heavy Bombardment caused significant changes to the greater surface environment of the Moon and, by inference, to that of Earth. Earth's atmosphere and oceans were formed by volcanic outgassing. Water vapor from these sources condensed into the oceans, augmented by water and ice from asteroids and comets. In this model, atmospheric "greenhouse gases" kept the oceans from freezing when the newly forming Sun had only 70% of its current luminosity. By 3.5 Bya, Earth's magnetic field was established, which helped prevent the atmosphere from being stripped away by the solar wind. A crust formed; the two models that explain land mass propose either a steady growth to the present-day forms or, more a rapid growth early in Earth history followed by a long-term steady continental area. Continents formed by plate tectonics
A terrestrial planet, telluric planet, or rocky planet is a planet, composed of silicate rocks or metals. Within the Solar System, the terrestrial planets are the inner planets closest to the Sun, i.e. Mercury, Venus and Mars; the terms "terrestrial planet" and "telluric planet" are derived from Latin words for Earth, as these planets are, in terms of structure, "Earth-like". These planets are located between the Asteroid Belt. Terrestrial planets have a solid planetary surface, making them different from the larger giant planets, which are composed of some combination of hydrogen and water existing in various physical states. All terrestrial planets in the Solar System have the same basic type of structure, such as a central metallic core iron, with a surrounding silicate mantle; the Moon has a much smaller iron core. Io and Europa are satellites that have internal structures similar to that of terrestrial planets. Terrestrial planets can have canyons, mountains and other surface structures, depending on the presence of water and tectonic activity.
Terrestrial planets have secondary atmospheres, generated through volcanism or comet impacts, in contrast to the giant planets, whose atmospheres are primary, captured directly from the original solar nebula. The Solar System has four terrestrial planets: Mercury, Venus and Mars. Only one terrestrial planet, Earth, is known to have an active hydrosphere. During the formation of the Solar System, there were many more terrestrial planetesimals, but most merged with or were ejected by the four terrestrial planets. Dwarf planets, such as Ceres and Eris, small Solar System bodies are similar to terrestrial planets in the fact that they do have a solid surface, but are, on average, composed of more icy materials; the Earth's Moon has a density of 3.4 g·cm−3 and Jupiter's satellites, Io, 3.528 and Europa, 3.013 g·cm−3. The uncompressed density of a terrestrial planet is the average density its materials would have at zero pressure. A greater uncompressed density indicates greater metal content. Uncompressed density differs from the true average density because compression within planet cores increases their density.
The uncompressed density of terrestrial planets trends towards lower values as the distance from the Sun increases. The rocky minor planet Vesta orbiting outside of Mars is less dense than Mars still at, 3.4 g·cm−3. Calculations to estimate uncompressed density inherently require a model of the planet's structure. Where there have been landers or multiple orbiting spacecraft, these models are constrained by seismological data and moment of inertia data derived from the spacecraft orbits. Where such data is not available, uncertainties are higher, it is unknown. Most of the planets discovered outside the Solar System are giant planets, because they are more detectable, but since 2005, hundreds of terrestrial extrasolar planets have been found, with several being confirmed as terrestrial. Most of these are i.e. planets with masses between Earth's and Neptune's. During the early 1990s, the first extrasolar planets were discovered orbiting the pulsar PSR B1257+12, with masses of 0.02, 4.3, 3.9 times that of Earth's, by pulsar timing.
When 51 Pegasi b, the first planet found around a star still undergoing fusion, was discovered, many astronomers assumed it to be a gigantic terrestrial, because it was assumed no gas giant could exist as close to its star as 51 Pegasi b did. It was found to be a gas giant. In 2005, the first planets around main-sequence stars that may be terrestrial were found: Gliese 876 d, has a mass 7 to 9 times that of Earth and an orbital period of just two Earth days, it orbits the red dwarf 15 light years from Earth. OGLE-2005-BLG-390Lb, about 5.5 times the mass of Earth, orbits a star about 21,000 light years away in the constellation Scorpius. From 2007 to 2010, three potential terrestrial planets were found orbiting within the Gliese 581 planetary system; the smallest, Gliese 581e, is only about 1.9 Earth mass, but orbits close to the star. An ideal terrestrial planet would be 2 Earth masses with a 25-day orbital period around a red dwarf. Two others, Gliese 581c and Gliese 581d, as well as a disputed planet, Gliese 581g, are more-massive super-Earths orbiting in or close to the habitable zone of the star, so they could be habitable, with Earth-like temperatures.
Another terrestrial planet, HD 85512 b, was discovered in 2011. The radius and composition of all these planets are unknown; the first confirmed terrestrial exoplanet, Kepler-10b, was found in 2011 by the Kepler Mission designed to discover Earth-size planets around other stars using the transit method. In the same year, the Kepler Space Observatory Mission team released a list of 1235 extrasolar planet candidates, including six that are "Earth-size" or "super-Earth-size" and in the habitable zone of their star. Since Kepler has discovered hundreds of planets ranging from Moon-sized to super-Earths, with many more candidates in this size range
Astronomy is a natural science that studies celestial objects and phenomena. It applies mathematics and chemistry in an effort to explain the origin of those objects and phenomena and their evolution. Objects of interest include planets, stars, nebulae and comets. More all phenomena that originate outside Earth's atmosphere are within the purview of astronomy. A related but distinct subject is physical cosmology, the study of the Universe as a whole. Astronomy is one of the oldest of the natural sciences; the early civilizations in recorded history, such as the Babylonians, Indians, Nubians, Chinese and many ancient indigenous peoples of the Americas, performed methodical observations of the night sky. Astronomy has included disciplines as diverse as astrometry, celestial navigation, observational astronomy, the making of calendars, but professional astronomy is now considered to be synonymous with astrophysics. Professional astronomy is split into theoretical branches. Observational astronomy is focused on acquiring data from observations of astronomical objects, analyzed using basic principles of physics.
Theoretical astronomy is oriented toward the development of computer or analytical models to describe astronomical objects and phenomena. The two fields complement each other, with theoretical astronomy seeking to explain observational results and observations being used to confirm theoretical results. Astronomy is one of the few sciences in which amateurs still play an active role in the discovery and observation of transient events. Amateur astronomers have made and contributed to many important astronomical discoveries, such as finding new comets. Astronomy means "law of the stars". Astronomy should not be confused with astrology, the belief system which claims that human affairs are correlated with the positions of celestial objects. Although the two fields share a common origin, they are now distinct. Both of the terms "astronomy" and "astrophysics" may be used to refer to the same subject. Based on strict dictionary definitions, "astronomy" refers to "the study of objects and matter outside the Earth's atmosphere and of their physical and chemical properties," while "astrophysics" refers to the branch of astronomy dealing with "the behavior, physical properties, dynamic processes of celestial objects and phenomena."
In some cases, as in the introduction of the introductory textbook The Physical Universe by Frank Shu, "astronomy" may be used to describe the qualitative study of the subject, whereas "astrophysics" is used to describe the physics-oriented version of the subject. However, since most modern astronomical research deals with subjects related to physics, modern astronomy could be called astrophysics; some fields, such as astrometry, are purely astronomy rather than astrophysics. Various departments in which scientists carry out research on this subject may use "astronomy" and "astrophysics" depending on whether the department is affiliated with a physics department, many professional astronomers have physics rather than astronomy degrees; some titles of the leading scientific journals in this field include The Astronomical Journal, The Astrophysical Journal, Astronomy and Astrophysics. In early historic times, astronomy only consisted of the observation and predictions of the motions of objects visible to the naked eye.
In some locations, early cultures assembled massive artifacts that had some astronomical purpose. In addition to their ceremonial uses, these observatories could be employed to determine the seasons, an important factor in knowing when to plant crops and in understanding the length of the year. Before tools such as the telescope were invented, early study of the stars was conducted using the naked eye; as civilizations developed, most notably in Mesopotamia, Persia, China and Central America, astronomical observatories were assembled and ideas on the nature of the Universe began to develop. Most early astronomy consisted of mapping the positions of the stars and planets, a science now referred to as astrometry. From these observations, early ideas about the motions of the planets were formed, the nature of the Sun and the Earth in the Universe were explored philosophically; the Earth was believed to be the center of the Universe with the Sun, the Moon and the stars rotating around it. This is known as the geocentric model of the Ptolemaic system, named after Ptolemy.
A important early development was the beginning of mathematical and scientific astronomy, which began among the Babylonians, who laid the foundations for the astronomical traditions that developed in many other civilizations. The Babylonians discovered. Following the Babylonians, significant advances in astronomy were made in ancient Greece and the Hellenistic world. Greek astronomy is characterized from the start by seeking a rational, physical explanation for celestial phenomena. In the 3rd century BC, Aristarchus of Samos estimated the size and distance of the Moon and Sun, he proposed a model of the Solar System where the Earth and planets rotated around the Sun, now called the heliocentric model. In the 2nd century BC, Hipparchus discovered precession, calculated the size and distance of the Moon and inven
Jupiter is the fifth planet from the Sun and the largest in the Solar System. It is a giant planet with a mass one-thousandth that of the Sun, but two-and-a-half times that of all the other planets in the Solar System combined. Jupiter and Saturn are gas giants. Jupiter has been known to astronomers since antiquity, it is named after the Roman god Jupiter. When viewed from Earth, Jupiter can reach an apparent magnitude of −2.94, bright enough for its reflected light to cast shadows, making it on average the third-brightest natural object in the night sky after the Moon and Venus. Jupiter is composed of hydrogen with a quarter of its mass being helium, though helium comprises only about a tenth of the number of molecules, it may have a rocky core of heavier elements, but like the other giant planets, Jupiter lacks a well-defined solid surface. Because of its rapid rotation, the planet's shape is that of an oblate spheroid; the outer atmosphere is visibly segregated into several bands at different latitudes, resulting in turbulence and storms along their interacting boundaries.
A prominent result is the Great Red Spot, a giant storm, known to have existed since at least the 17th century when it was first seen by telescope. Surrounding Jupiter is a powerful magnetosphere. Jupiter has 79 known moons, including the four large Galilean moons discovered by Galileo Galilei in 1610. Ganymede, the largest of these, has a diameter greater than that of the planet Mercury. Jupiter has been explored on several occasions by robotic spacecraft, most notably during the early Pioneer and Voyager flyby missions and by the Galileo orbiter. In late February 2007, Jupiter was visited by the New Horizons probe, which used Jupiter's gravity to increase its speed and bend its trajectory en route to Pluto; the latest probe to visit the planet is Juno, which entered into orbit around Jupiter on July 4, 2016. Future targets for exploration in the Jupiter system include the probable ice-covered liquid ocean of its moon Europa. Astronomers have discovered nearly 500 planetary systems with multiple planets.
These systems include a few planets with masses several times greater than Earth's, orbiting closer to their star than Mercury is to the Sun, sometimes Jupiter-mass gas giants close to their star. Earth and its neighbor planets may have formed from fragments of planets after collisions with Jupiter destroyed those super-Earths near the Sun; as Jupiter came toward the inner Solar System, in what theorists call the grand tack hypothesis, gravitational tugs and pulls occurred causing a series of collisions between the super-Earths as their orbits began to overlap. Researchers from Lund University found that Jupiter's migration went on for around 700,000 years, in a period 2-3 million years after the celestial body started its life as an ice asteroid far from the sun; the journey inwards in the solar system followed a spiraling course in which Jupiter continued to circle around the sun, albeit in an tight path. The reason behind the actual migration relates to gravitational forces from the surrounding gases in the solar system.
Jupiter moving out of the inner Solar System would have allowed the formation of inner planets, including Earth. Jupiter is composed of gaseous and liquid matter, it is the largest of hence its largest planet. It has a diameter of 142,984 km at its equator; the average density of Jupiter, 1.326 g/cm3, is the second highest of the giant planets, but lower than those of the four terrestrial planets. Jupiter's upper atmosphere is about 88–92% hydrogen and 8–12% helium by percent volume of gas molecules. A helium atom has about four times as much mass as a hydrogen atom, so the composition changes when described as the proportion of mass contributed by different atoms. Thus, Jupiter's atmosphere is 75% hydrogen and 24% helium by mass, with the remaining one percent of the mass consisting of other elements; the atmosphere contains trace amounts of methane, water vapor and silicon-based compounds. There are traces of carbon, hydrogen sulfide, oxygen and sulfur; the outermost layer of the atmosphere contains crystals of frozen ammonia.
The interior contains denser materials—by mass it is 71% hydrogen, 24% helium, 5% other elements. Through infrared and ultraviolet measurements, trace amounts of benzene and other hydrocarbons have been found; the atmospheric proportions of hydrogen and helium are close to the theoretical composition of the primordial solar nebula. Neon in the upper atmosphere only consists of 20 parts per million by mass, about a tenth as abundant as in the Sun. Helium is depleted to about 80% of the Sun's helium composition; this depletion is a result of precipitation of these elements into the interior of the planet. Based on spectroscopy, Saturn is thought to be similar in composition to Jupiter, but the other giant planets Uranus and Neptune have less hydrogen and helium and more ices and are thus now termed ice giants. Jupiter's mass is 2.5 times that of all the other planets in the Solar System combined—this is so massive that its barycenter with the Sun lies above the Sun's surface at 1.068 solar radii from the Sun's center.
Jupiter is much larger than Earth and less dense: its volume is that of about 1,321 Earths, but it is only 318 times as massive. Jupiter's radius is about 1/10 the radius of the Sun, its mass is 0.001 times the mass of the Sun, so the densities of the two bodies are similar. A "Jupiter mass" is used as a u
Gaussian gravitational constant
The Gaussian gravitational constant is a parameter used in the orbital mechanics of the solar system. It relates the orbital period to the orbit's semi-major axis and the mass of the orbiting body in Solar masses; the value of k expresses the mean angular velocity of the system of Earth+Moon and the Sun considered as a two body problem, with a value of about 0.986 degrees per day, or about 0.0172 radians per day. As a consequence of Newton's law of gravitation and Kepler's third law, k is directly proportional to the square root of the standard gravitational parameter of the Sun, its value in radians per day follows by setting Earth's semi-major axis to unity, k: = 0.5·-1.5A value of k = 0.01720209895 rad/day was determined by Carl Friedrich Gauss in his 1809 work Theoria Motus Corporum Coelestium in Sectionibus Conicis Solem Ambientum. Gauss' value was introduced as a fixed, defined value by the IAU, which detached it from its immediate representation of the mean angular velocity of the Sun-Earth system.
Instead, the astronomical unit now became a measurable quantity different from unity. This was useful in 20th-century celestial mechanics to prevent the constant adaptation of orbital parameters to updated measured values, but it came at the expense of intuitiveness, as the astronomical unit, ostensibly a unit of length, was now dependent on the measurement of the strength of the gravitational force; the IAU abandoned the defined value of k in 2012 in favour of a defined value of the astronomical unit of 1.495978707×1011 m while the strength of the gravitational force is now to be expressed in the separate standard gravitational parameter GM☉, measured in SI units of m3 s−2. Gauss' constant is derived from the application of Kepler's third law to the system of Earth+Moon and the Sun considered as a two body problem, relating the period of revolution to the major semi-axis of the orbit and the total mass of the orbiting bodies, its numerical value was obtained by setting the major semi-axis and the mass of the Sun to unity and measuring the period in mean solar days: k = 2π / ≈ 0.0172021, where: P ≈ 365.256, M = ≈ 1.00000304, a = 1 by definition.
The value represents the mean angular motion of the Earth-Sun system, in radians per day, equivalent to a value just below one degree. The correction due to the division by the square root of M reflects the fact that the Earth-Moon system is not orbiting the Sun itself, but the center of mass of the system. Isaac Newton himself determined a value of this constant which agreed with Gauss' value to six significant digits. Gauss gave the value as 3548.18761 arc seconds. Since all involved parameters, the orbital period, the Earth-to-Sun mass ratio, the semi-major axis and the length of the mean solar day, are subject to refined measurement, the precise value of the constant would have to be revised over time, but since the constant is involved in determining the orbital parameters of all other bodies in the solar system, it was found to be more convenient to set it to a fixed value, by definition, implying that the value of a would deviate from unity. The fixed value of k = 0.01720209895 was taken to be the one set by Gauss, so that a = 4π2: ≈ 1.
Gauss' 1809 value of the constant was thus used as an authoritative reference value for the orbital mechanics of the solar system for two centuries. From its introduction until 1938 it was considered a measured quantity, from 1938 until 2012 it was used as a defined quantity, with measurement uncertainty delegated to the value of the astronomical unit; the defined value of k was abandoned by the IAU in 2012, the use of k was deprecated, to be replaced by a fixed value of the astronomical unit, the quantity of the standard gravitational parameter GM☉. Gauss himself stated the constant in arc seconds, with nine significant digits, as k = 3548″.18761. In the late 19th century, this value was adopted, converted to radian, by Simon Newcomb, as k = 0.01720209895. and the constant appears in this form in his Tables of the Sun, published in 1898. Newcomb's work was accepted as the best available and his values of the constants were incorporated into a great quantity of astronomical research; because of this, it became difficult to separate the constants from the research.
Hence, after the formation of the International Astronomical Union in 1919 certain constants came to be accepted as "fundamental": defining constants from which all others were derived. In 1938, the VIth General Assembly of the IAU declared, We adopt for the constant of Gauss, the value k = 0.017202098950000 the unit of time is the mean solar day of 1900.0 However, no further effort toward establishing a set of constants was forthcoming until 1950. An IAU symposium on the system of constants was held in Paris in 1963 in response to recent developments in space exploration; the attendees decided at that time to establish a consistent set of constants. Resolution 1 stated that The new system shall be defined by a non-redundant set of fundamental constants, by explicit relations between these and the constants derived from them. Resolution 4 recommended that the working group shall treat the following quantities as fundamental constants (in the s
A galaxy is a gravitationally bound system of stars, stellar remnants, interstellar gas and dark matter. The word galaxy is derived from the Greek galaxias "milky", a reference to the Milky Way. Galaxies range in size from dwarfs with just a few hundred million stars to giants with one hundred trillion stars, each orbiting its galaxy's center of mass. Galaxies are categorized according to their visual morphology as spiral, or irregular. Many galaxies are thought to have supermassive black holes at their centers; the Milky Way's central black hole, known as Sagittarius A*, has a mass four million times greater than the Sun. As of March 2016, GN-z11 is the oldest and most distant observed galaxy with a comoving distance of 32 billion light-years from Earth, observed as it existed just 400 million years after the Big Bang. Research released in 2016 revised the number of galaxies in the observable universe from a previous estimate of 200 billion to a suggested 2 trillion or more, containing more stars than all the grains of sand on planet Earth.
Most of the galaxies are 1,000 to 100,000 parsecs in diameter and separated by distances on the order of millions of parsecs. For comparison, the Milky Way has a diameter of at least 30,000 parsecs and is separated from the Andromeda Galaxy, its nearest large neighbor, by 780,000 parsecs; the space between galaxies is filled with a tenuous gas having an average density of less than one atom per cubic meter. The majority of galaxies are gravitationally organized into groups and superclusters; the Milky Way is part of the Local Group, dominated by it and the Andromeda Galaxy and is part of the Virgo Supercluster. At the largest scale, these associations are arranged into sheets and filaments surrounded by immense voids; the largest structure of galaxies yet recognised is a cluster of superclusters, named Laniakea, which contains the Virgo supercluster. The origin of the word galaxy derives from the Greek term for the Milky Way, galaxias, or kyklos galaktikos due to its appearance as a "milky" band of light in the sky.
In Greek mythology, Zeus places his son born by a mortal woman, the infant Heracles, on Hera's breast while she is asleep so that the baby will drink her divine milk and will thus become immortal. Hera wakes up while breastfeeding and realizes she is nursing an unknown baby: she pushes the baby away, some of her milk spills, it produces the faint band of light known as the Milky Way. In the astronomical literature, the capitalized word "Galaxy" is used to refer to our galaxy, the Milky Way, to distinguish it from the other galaxies in our universe; the English term Milky Way can be traced back to a story by Chaucer c. 1380: "See yonder, lo, the Galaxyë Which men clepeth the Milky Wey, For hit is whyt." Galaxies were discovered telescopically and were known as spiral nebulae. Most 18th to 19th Century astronomers considered them as either unresolved star clusters or anagalactic nebulae, were just thought as a part of the Milky Way, but their true composition and natures remained a mystery. Observations using larger telescopes of a few nearby bright galaxies, like the Andromeda Galaxy, began resolving them into huge conglomerations of stars, but based on the apparent faintness and sheer population of stars, the true distances of these objects placed them well beyond the Milky Way.
For this reason they were popularly called island universes, but this term fell into disuse, as the word universe implied the entirety of existence. Instead, they became known as galaxies. Tens of thousands of galaxies have been catalogued, but only a few have well-established names, such as the Andromeda Galaxy, the Magellanic Clouds, the Whirlpool Galaxy, the Sombrero Galaxy. Astronomers work with numbers from certain catalogues, such as the Messier catalogue, the NGC, the IC, the CGCG, the MCG and UGC. All of the well-known galaxies appear in one or more of these catalogues but each time under a different number. For example, Messier 109 is a spiral galaxy having the number 109 in the catalogue of Messier, having the designations NGC 3992, UGC 6937, CGCG 269-023, MCG +09-20-044, PGC 37617; the realization that we live in a galaxy, one among many galaxies, parallels major discoveries that were made about the Milky Way and other nebulae. The Greek philosopher Democritus proposed that the bright band on the night sky known as the Milky Way might consist of distant stars.
Aristotle, believed the Milky Way to be caused by "the ignition of the fiery exhalation of some stars that were large and close together" and that the "ignition takes place in the upper part of the atmosphere, in the region of the World, continuous with the heavenly motions." The Neoplatonist philosopher Olympiodorus the Younger was critical of this view, arguing that if the Milky Way is sublunary it should appear different at different times and places on Earth, that it should have parallax, which it does not. In his view, the Milky Way is celestial. According to Mohani Mohamed, the Arabian astronomer Alhazen made the first attempt at observing and measuring the Milky Way's parallax, he thus "determined that because the Milky Way had no parallax, it must be remote from the Earth, not belonging to the atmosphere." The Persian astronomer al-Bīrūnī
Time is the indefinite continued progress of existence and events that occur in irreversible succession through the past, in the present, the future. Time is a component quantity of various measurements used to sequence events, to compare the duration of events or the intervals between them, to quantify rates of change of quantities in material reality or in the conscious experience. Time is referred to as a fourth dimension, along with three spatial dimensions. Time has long been an important subject of study in religion and science, but defining it in a manner applicable to all fields without circularity has eluded scholars. Diverse fields such as business, sports, the sciences, the performing arts all incorporate some notion of time into their respective measuring systems. Time in physics is unambiguously operationally defined as "what a clock reads". See Units of Time. Time is one of the seven fundamental physical quantities in both the International System of Units and International System of Quantities.
Time is used to define other quantities – such as velocity – so defining time in terms of such quantities would result in circularity of definition. An operational definition of time, wherein one says that observing a certain number of repetitions of one or another standard cyclical event constitutes one standard unit such as the second, is useful in the conduct of both advanced experiments and everyday affairs of life; the operational definition leaves aside the question whether there is something called time, apart from the counting activity just mentioned, that flows and that can be measured. Investigations of a single continuum called spacetime bring questions about space into questions about time, questions that have their roots in the works of early students of natural philosophy. Temporal measurement has occupied scientists and technologists, was a prime motivation in navigation and astronomy. Periodic events and periodic motion have long served as standards for units of time. Examples include the apparent motion of the sun across the sky, the phases of the moon, the swing of a pendulum, the beat of a heart.
The international unit of time, the second, is defined by measuring the electronic transition frequency of caesium atoms. Time is of significant social importance, having economic value as well as personal value, due to an awareness of the limited time in each day and in human life spans. Speaking, methods of temporal measurement, or chronometry, take two distinct forms: the calendar, a mathematical tool for organising intervals of time, the clock, a physical mechanism that counts the passage of time. In day-to-day life, the clock is consulted for periods less than a day whereas the calendar is consulted for periods longer than a day. Personal electronic devices display both calendars and clocks simultaneously; the number that marks the occurrence of a specified event as to hour or date is obtained by counting from a fiducial epoch – a central reference point. Artifacts from the Paleolithic suggest that the moon was used to reckon time as early as 6,000 years ago. Lunar calendars were among the first to appear, with years of either 13 lunar months.
Without intercalation to add days or months to some years, seasons drift in a calendar based on twelve lunar months. Lunisolar calendars have a thirteenth month added to some years to make up for the difference between a full year and a year of just twelve lunar months; the numbers twelve and thirteen came to feature prominently in many cultures, at least due to this relationship of months to years. Other early forms of calendars originated in Mesoamerica in ancient Mayan civilization; these calendars were religiously and astronomically based, with 18 months in a year and 20 days in a month, plus five epagomenal days at the end of the year. The reforms of Julius Caesar in 45 BC put the Roman world on a solar calendar; this Julian calendar was faulty in that its intercalation still allowed the astronomical solstices and equinoxes to advance against it by about 11 minutes per year. Pope Gregory XIII introduced a correction in 1582. During the French Revolution, a new clock and calendar were invented in attempt to de-Christianize time and create a more rational system in order to replace the Gregorian calendar.
The French Republican Calendar's days consisted of ten hours of a hundred minutes of a hundred seconds, which marked a deviation from the 12-based duodecimal system used in many other devices by many cultures. The system was abolished in 1806. A large variety of devices have been invented to measure time; the study of these devices is called horology. An Egyptian device that dates to c. 1500 BC, similar in shape to a bent T-square, measured the passage of time from the shadow cast by its crossbar on a nonlinear rule. The T was oriented eastward in the mornings. At noon, the device was turned around so. A sundial uses a gnomon to cast a shadow on a set of markings calibrated to the hour; the position of the shadow marks the hour in local time. The idea to separate the day into smaller parts is credited to Egyptians because of their sundials, which operated on a duodecimal system; the importance of the number 12 is due to the number of lunar cycles in a year and the number of stars used to count the passage of night.
The most precise timekeeping device of the ancient