Astronomy is one of the oldest sciences, and one which has repeatedly led to fundamental changes in our view of the world. This book covers the history of our study of the cosmos from prehistory through to a survey of modern astronomy and astrophysics (sure to be of interest to future historians of twentieth-century astronomy). It does not attempt to cover everything, but deliberately concentrates on the important themes and topics. These include stellar astronomy in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, at the time subordinate to the study of the solar system, but the source of many important concepts in modern astronomy, and the Copernican revolution, which led to the challenge of ancient authorities in many areas, not just astronomy. This is an essential text for students of the history of science and for students of astronomy who require a historical background to their studies.