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Science - Astronomy Tools
 
Astronomers use a wide variety of tools in order to observe and collect data. The electromagnetic spectrum provides the template to design and implement instrumentation for study, and lessons learned by other specialties have also been brought to bare on a variety of topics.

Astronomy is the study of everything - as coined by Carl Sagan, this includes understanding certain phenomenon here on Earth. Atmospheric studies and geography are examples. The list of specialties sometimes called on by astronomers include: meteorology, paleontology, biology, geography, seismology, physics, chemistry, quantum physics and computer science.

Meteorology and other atmospheric studies on Earth can help us understand the atmospheres of Venus and Mars, as well as understand the spectacular cloud formations on Jupiter and Saturn as well as Uranus and Neptune. With Saturn's moon Titan, the only moon in our solar system we know to have a substantial atmosphere, will help us understand our own primordial atmosphere.

Paleontology and the study of ancient rock structures here on Earth can help us understand the newly discovered nuances of rock formations and ancient riverbeds on Mars.

Biology combined with astronomy is a relatively new field called Astrobiology. The newly discovered extremophiles in our own deep oceans as well as the evidence of previous liquid water on Mars has allowed this subspecialty to grow. Combine this with the oceans under the icy sheet of Europa and the primordial atmosphere on Titan, and we have an exciting future.

Geography, the study of land mass formation and cratering, allow us to understand meteorite impacts on the other planets and moons so we can better understand the evolution of the crust of the terrestrial planets. By studying volcanism and plate tectonics, we gain knowledge of how volcanoes and land mass motions occur elsewhere.

Seismology is also a fairly new subspecialty in astronomy. Our Sun and other stars have demonstrated to seismic vibrations, and we are slowly beginning to understand what this means. Studying earthquake phenomenon here on Earth will help us understand this phenomenon elsewhere.

Physics is used heavily in astronomy. This allows us to understand the nature of light and gravity as well as orbital motion. Modified Newtonian physics have given rise to Einstein's Relativity as to the study of particle and wave nature of light.

Chemistry allows us to determine to chemical composition of space dust, stars, planets, and so forth. Variations of elements, called isotopes, can also help us create timelines of chemical evolutions of stars and planets.

Quantum physics allows us to understand the fundamental particles and hopefully crack the mystery of Dark Matter - the 90% unknown composition of the Universe. Neutrinos and gamma ray particles also benefit from knowledge gained by quantum physics.

Computer science allows us to create programs run on clusters of computers to run simulations for analysis. Galaxy formation, stellar evolution, orbital dynamics, and even Dark Matter simulations rely heavily on computers.

As you can see, there is a large pool of knowledge and experience that astronomers can draw from. The study of these specialties greatly enhance our knowledge of astronomical phenomenon and those results in turn enhance the subjects from which we draw.

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