Published on May 27, 2016


Astrophysics Thumbnail

Astrophysics is a division of astronomy, adopting the principles of chemistry and physics, “wherein it is possible to confirm the behavior of the celestial bodies, and not their movements or location in space”. The topics that are covered under this umbrella are the Sun, extra-solar planets, galaxies, remaining stars; the cosmos microwave surroundings and the interstellar medium. Whatever is emitted from bodies all round the electromagnetic spectrum are scrutinized, and the characteristics scrutinized are, density, luminosity, chemical composition and temperature. Astrophysics, being a wide area of studies, encompass several divisions of physics, like electromagnetism, mechanics, thermodynamics, statistical mechanics, relativity, quantum mechanics, particle and nuclear physics and also molecular and atomic physics.

The Use of Astrophysics

Practically, recent research on astronomy, mostly occupies a considerable quantum of work in the area of observational and theoretical physics. Certain astrophysicists, in their specialized studies, focus on determining: the dark energy, the properties of dark matter and black holes; they question if movement is likely, if it is possible to create wormholes, if there is wide difference in their occurrence, and about the birth and death of the Universe. The other subjects dealt with in astrophysics are the configuration and gradual progress of the Solar system; galaxy configuration and growth of the galaxy and that of the stellar dynamics; extensive configuration of elements in the universe; magnetohydrodynamics; physical cosmology, inclusive of string cosmology; astroparticle physics; general relativity and origination of the cosmic rays;

History and Evolution of Astrophysics

History records astronomy as an age old science, even then, since long, it was deleted from terrestrial physics.

As a result, it was presumed that the heavenly province was created basically by some other elements obtained from the terrestrial sphere; either as Aether that was observed by Aristotle or as fire, observed by Plato. In the 17th century, Original philosophers like Descartes, Galileo and Newton started observing the terrestrial and celestial regions as like matters that which obeyed similar laws of nature.

In a major part of the 19th century, research on astronomy concentrated on the day to day occupation of computing the movements and the distances of the astronomical objects. It was Joseph Von Fraunhofer and William Hyde Wollaston, who separately discovered that, when light from the sun is decomposed, a massive amount of dark lines (in space where light was hardly present) appeared in the spectrum.

It was in the year 1860 that the chemist, Robert Bunsen and Gustav Kirchhoff a physicist, made a demonstration of the dark lines in the solar spectrum, relating to the bright lines in the spectrum of identified gases. Definite lines relate to exclusive chemical elements, Kirchhoff inferred that the dark lines of the solar system were caused by absorption of the chemical elements from the Solar ambiance. Thus it was evident that the chemical elements of the stars and the Sun were obtained on the Earth as well.

In the year 1885, at the Harvard College Observatory, Edward C. Pickering was engaged a self motivated project of the categorization of the stellar spectral. A group of female computer specialists, particularly Antonia Maury, Williamina Fleming and Annie Jump Cannon, categorized the spectra that were recorded on a photographic plate. In the year 1890, they got ready a catalog comprising of more than 10,000 stars, categorizing them into 13 spectral varieties. Towards the close of the 20th century, much, more advanced study of experimental spectra and stellar resulted in the beginning of the quantum physics.

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