I'm applying to graduate programs in the history of science and would appreciate some advice. I'm interested in studying post World War II astronomy, especially to see its interaction with American culture - as can be seen in the space age architecture and science fiction.
In addition to my research proposal, I also need to signify why studying this time period and astronomy is so important. Just from my recent knowledge of astronomy, I'm working on a theory that astronomy differs from other sciences in that we don't have direct contact with the objects being studied and thus, much is theoretical. Because we apply knowledge gained from observations on and from Earth, the universe is really shaped by our thoughts, it is quite possible that it isn't the universe that actually exists.
I'm looking for instances in astronomy after World War II where astronomers assummed something about an object or concept which was refuted by a later discovery. Do you have any examples?
If you can't think of anything, I would appreciate advice on why you think post World War II astronomy is important to study.
Cross-posted to astronomy.