The book on Astronomy and Astrophysics with contributions from distinguished experts in the field, represents a first inspiring introduction to natural science, especially among young people, which is an extra motivation to many scientists to contribute to the Astronomy and Astrophysics Theme of this Encyclopedia.
The first chapter which treats the development of astronomy and astrophysics in a historical perspective is followed by an account of the impact of astronomy on human culture and civilization. Observational astronomy is facing a number of environmental challenges. The nature and complexity of these and how the associated problems are met and overcome are described in the third article. Various aspects of our solar system are covered by authoritative articles on the Sun, planets including their satellites and smaller bodies, plus a review of the laws of motions and orbits of celestial bodies. The detection and studies of exo-solar planetary systems is rapidly developing field in astronomy which is treated in a separate chapter. Then follow fascinating up-to-date overviews on stars describing their formation, structure and life cycles. Stars are the building blocks of larger cosmic entities leading to the enigmatic galaxies composed of billions of stars, and gradually to clusters of galaxies. The final chapters cover the origin and evolution of galaxies and the large-scale structure of the Universe, including dark matter and dark energy which are among the most fascinating problems of physics today.
These two volumes are aimed at the following five major target audiences: University and College students Educators, Professional practitioners, Research personnel and Policy analysts, managers, and decision makers and NGOs.