Astrophysics is the branch of astronomy that employs the principles of physics and chemistry to ascertain the nature of astronomical objects rather than their position or medium in space. Among the objects studied are the Sun, stars, galaxies, interstellar medium, and cosmic microwave background radiation.
The emissions from the objects are examined across all parts of the electromagnetic spectrum and the properties examined include luminosity, density, temperature, and chemical composition.
Modern Astrophysics Research
Modern astronomical research often involves a substantial amount of work in the realms of theoretical and observational physics. Some areas of study for the astrophysicist include the attempts to determine the properties of dark matter, dark energy, black holes, other celestial objects, etc.
Topics Studied in Astrophysics
Topics studied by theoretical astrophysicists include solar system formation and evolution, stellar dynamics and evolution, galaxy formation and evolution, etc.
Astronomical Unit (A. U.)
An astronomical unit (A. U.) is the average distance between the Earth and the Sun which is about 150 million km. Astronomical Units are usually used to measure the distance within our solar system. A light year is a distance traveled by the light in a year. 1 light year = 63241 AU. A parsec is a still larger measure of distance. 1 parsec = 3.26156 AU.
A constellation is an area on the celestial sphere in which groups of stars forms an imaginary outline or pattern, typically representing an animal, mythological person, or creature. The earliest constellation was known during prehistoric times. People used them to relate stories of their beliefs, experiences, and creations.
Different civilizations and countries adopted their own constellation names, some of which lasted into the early 20th Century. The recognition of the constellations has changed significantly over time. In 1922, the International Astronomical Union (IAU) formally accepted the list of 88 constellations.
In 1928, they adopted the official constellation boundaries that totally cover the entire celestial sphere. Any given point in the celestial coordinate system lies in any one of the modern constellations.
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