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Undergraduate (UG)
School of Engineering

'Astronomy' is a course offered in the B. Tech. programs at School of Engineering, Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham.

Unit 1

Astronomy, an Observational Science: Introduction - Indian and Western Astronomy – Aryabhatta - Tycho Brahe’s observations of the heavens - The laws of planetary motion - Measuring the astronomical unit - Isaac Newton and his Universal Law of Gravity - Derivation of Kepler’s third law - The Sun - The formation of the solar system - Overall properties of the Sun - The Sun’s total energy output - Black body radiation and the sun’s surface temperature - The Fraunhofer lines in the solar spectrum and the composition of the sun - Nuclear fusion - The proton– proton cycle - The solar neutrino problem - The solar atmosphere: photosphere, chromosphere and corona - Coronium - The solar wind- The sunspot cycle - Solar The Planets - Planetary orbits - Orbital inclination - Secondary atmospheres - The evolution of the earth’s atmosphere.

Unit 2

Observational Astronomy
Observing the Universe - The classic Newtonian telescope - The Cassegrain telescope - Catadioptric telescopes - The Schmidt camera - The Schmidt–Cassegrain telescope - The Maksutov–Cassegrain telescope - Active and adaptive optics - Some significant optical telescopes - Gemini North and South telescopes - The Keck telescopes - The South Africa Large Telescope (SALT) - The Very Large Telescope (VLT) - The Hubble Space Telescope (HST) - The future of optical astronomy - Radio telescopes - The feed and low noise amplifier system - Radio receivers - Telescope designs - Large fixed dishes - Telescope arrays - Very Long Baseline Interferometry (VLBI) - The future of radio astronomy - Observing in other wavebands – Infrared – Sub-millimetre wavelengths - The Spitzer space telescope - Ultraviolet, X-ray and gamma-ray observatories - Observing the universe without using electromagnetic radiation - Cosmic rays - Gravitational waves.

Unit 3

The Properties of Stars: Stellar luminosity - Stellar distances - The hydrogen spectrum - Spectral types - Spectroscopic parallax - The Hertzsprung–Russell Diagram - The main sequence - The giant region - The white dwarf region - The stellar mass – luminosity relationship - Stellar lifetimes - Stellar Evolution – White dwarfs - The evolution of a sun-like star - Evolution in close binary systems – Neutron stars and black holes - The discovery of pulsars - Black holes: The Milky Way - Open star clusters - Globular clusters - Size, shape and structure of the Milky Way – observations of the hydrogen line - Other galaxies - Elliptical galaxies - Spiral galaxies - The Hubble classification of galaxies - The universe - The Cepheid variable distance scale - Starburst galaxies - Active galaxies - Groups and clusters of galaxies – Superclusters - The structure of the universe - Cosmology – the Origin and Evolution of the Universe - The expansion of the universe - The cosmic microwave background - The hidden universe: dark matter and dark energy - The Drake equation - The Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence (SETI) - The future of the universe.

  • Introduction to Astronomy and Cosmology, Ian Morison, Wiley (UK), 2008
  • Astronomy: Principles and Practice, 4th Edition (Paperback), D. C. Clarke, A. E. RoyInstitute of Physics Publishing