If you ask most people phones, radio signals, and televisions all seem like they’ve been around forever, but it all actually started with a date that changed the astronomy world forever. October 4th, 1957 was when the Russians launched their first space-born satellite that could communicate with Earth.
Sputnik was a satellite that could provide beeps and wasn’t hampered by many of the problems that Earth’s current radio waves had, such as a need for clear weather and a lot of power.
This revolutionized communication, and when television satellites let a show produced in Canada be shown in Europe at the same time, this was a new way to get information to the people. Although the channels were used for broadcasting government news, soon entertainment television began to become popular.
More and more satellites and channels were added to orbit and to the world, and information and connections began to spread. Phones were soon connected, allowing anyone to talk to anyone, and the world was more connected than it had ever been before.
Now information, images, and social injustice could be shown on countless television screens across the world, bringing with it new change and a deeper understanding of the events of the time period. With satellite television becoming popular, more and more satellites were being launched into space.
The way that satellite TV’s work is that they are kept in orbit above the equator to keep them still, then a signal is fired at them from an antenna, is bounced off the satellite, and then is directed into a home with a satellite dish. Then the signal goes down the dish and into the television set to produce the desired channel.
Even with digital television and other forms of media starting to replace it, satellite television is still used today. However, as the satellite era began to rise, many people questioned the value of the astronomy that put them there.
Most people don’t even know what astronomy is, choosing to simply say ‘it’s the study of the stars’ and then leaving it at that, but it’s so much more.
Some people theorize that the reliance on our phones is stopping us from being naturally curious and that is putting a lack of wonder on the world. Since people are less curious they don’t go into the sciences, specifically astronomy. Then people don’t understand how the satellites work and why they need to be where they are.
With astronomy reaching the forefront of the world again thanks to new ideas, discoveries, and plans for the future, it’s important to remember that the basic ideas of astronomy, math, and science are the core ideas and methods that make our modern world go round.
So try to look at astronomy through a different lens the next time you see it because we all need to understand how important it is for the modern world we’ve created. Without the knowledge of the past, we might have trouble protecting the future.