Astronomy’s historical timeline is as vast as the celestial space it observes. Though the Greek civilization erected the milestones of human race’s astronomical journey, the idea of space observation and research is even older than that. The Babylonians had already made in-roads into the field of astronomy by rightly observing the phenomenon of lunar eclipse cycle. As a matter of fact, the Babylonians congregated the branches of mathematics and astronomy for their studies. From this age onwards, the Greek astronomers made rapid advances and unearthed many celestial phenomenon which were unknown to man.
The inherent rational thinking and approach of the Greeks magnetized their interests towards the yawning space above them and the fascinating heavenly bodies decorating this space. In collaboration with the Hellenistic world, the Greeks explained the most basic postulates of the whole theory of the universe. It was way back in the third century BC that the first successful attempts at calculating the size of the Earth were made, and Aristarchus of Samos is credited with this feat. He also gave the distances between the Earth and the Sun apart from that between the Earth and the Moon. The same period witnessed the introduction of the idea of the helio-centrical shape of the solar system hosting the Earth.
Another century passed and Hipparchus came up with the concept of precession and the calculation of the sizes of celestial objects like Sun and Moon. The nascent form of astronomical devices was also erected in this period in the name of astrolabe. The development of an expansive catalog of 1020 stars is the other most remarkable contribution of Hipparchus. The Greek astronomers also gave the description of the constellations of the northern atmosphere. The progress of astronomy hit a road block of sorts after this age and it was not until the ninth century AD that the Islamic and Persian astronomers provided much needed impetus to the field with the setting up of the first proper astronomical observatory. Azophi, a Persian scholar, discovered the Andromeda Galaxy, which was in close proximity to the Milky Way.
The age of Renaissance saw the rise of another legendry astronomer in Nicolaus Copernicus whose work formed the base of the research of many subsequent breeds of astronomers like Galileo and Kepler. From then on, the nature and quality of the research grew with the advancements and modifications in the telescope. Newton also added vital information to the field of astronomy through his laws of celestial dynamics.