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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.

Text Books

  • 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

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