From the time of the ancient Greeks to the mid-twentieth century, the universe was conceived as of as an unchanging cosmos of fixed stars. The growth of technology, theoretical insight, and deeper understanding of the properties of matter, however, have replaced this view with a steadily expanding universe of galaxies--each galaxy a majestic, solely rotating collection of stars intertwined with dust and gases. Dramatic growth in the tools and techniques of observational astronomy have led to the discovery of explosive events, such as exploding galaxies and quasars, and an almost universal presence of high-energy particles and magnetic fields.
Astronomy and Astrophysics for the 1970s: Volume 1 discusses the future of astronomy and astrophysics and recommends new programs and increased funding of moderate research. It concludes that a balanced and well-planned space-astronomy program with adequate computational facilities is essential. The goal should be one large space telescope. The book also asserts that both large national centers and strong university groups are critical for health, balance and innovation.