1st Edition

An Introduction to Astronomy and Astrophysics

By Pankaj Jain Copyright 2015
    366 Pages 186 B/W Illustrations
    by CRC Press

    Astronomy is the field of science devoted to the study of astronomical objects, such as stars, galaxies, and nebulae. Astronomers have gathered a wealth of knowledge about the universe through hundreds of years of painstaking observations. These observations are interpreted by the use of physical and chemical laws familiar to mankind. These interpretations supply information about the nature of these astronomical objects, allowing for the deduction of their surface and interior conditions. The science associated with these interpretations is called astrophysics.

    An Introduction to Astronomy and Astrophysics offers a comprehensive introduction to astronomy and astrophysics, complete with illustrative examples and illuminating homework problems. Requiring a familiarity with basic physics and mathematics, this undergraduate-level textbook:

    • Addresses key physics concepts relevant to stellar observations, including radiation, electromagnetic spectrum, photometry, continuous and discrete spectrum, and spectral lines
    • Describes instruments used for astronomical observations as well as how the radiation received is characterized and interpreted to determine the properties of stars
    • Examines the structure of stars, the basic equations which explain stars in equilibrium, and the fusion reactions occurring in stellar cores
    • Discusses the evolution of stars, the solar system, the dynamics of galaxies, and the fundamentals of modern cosmology
    • Explores the universe at high redshifts, where it is dominated by objects such as active galaxies

    Solutions manual and figure slides available with qualifying course adoption

    An Introduction to Astronomy and Astrophysics teaches students how to interpret the night sky, providing them with a critical understanding of the stars and other heavenly bodies.



    Scales and Dimensions

    Night Sky


    Earth, Sun, and the Solar System

    Retrograde Motion of Planets

    Sidereal Time

    Astronomical Catalogs and Software


    Electromagnetic Waves

    Electromagnetic Spectrum


    Refractor Telescope

    Reflecting Telescope

    Observations at Visible Frequencies

    Theoretical Limit on Resolution


    Mounting of Telescope

    Equatorial Mount

    Azimuthal Mount


    Observations at Other Wavelengths


    Coordinate Systems

    The Horizontal System

    Equatorial Coordinate System

    Ecliptic System

    Galactic Coordinate System

    Supergalactic Coordinate System

    Space Velocity and Proper Motion of Stars

    Doppler Effect



    Coordinate Transformations

    Transformation between Equatorial and Ecliptic Coordinate Systems

    Precession of Equinoxes

    Equatorial Mounting of a Telescope



    Flux Density and Intensity

    Blackbody Radiation

    Energy Density in an Isotropic Radiation Field

    Magnitude Scale

    Apparent Magnitude

    Absolute Magnitude

    The Color Index

    Bolometric Magnitude

    Stellar Temperatures

    Effective Temperature

    Color Temperature

    Appendix: Solid Angle

    Gravitation and Kepler's Laws

    Two-Body Problem

    Application to Solar System

    Virial Theorem

    Tidal Forces and Roche Limit

    Stars, Stellar Spectra, and Classification


    Stellar Spectra

    Harvard Classification of Stellar Spectra

    Saha Equation

    Derivation of the Saha Equation

    Number of States of a Free Particle in a Box

    HR Diagram

    Star Clusters and Associations

    Distance and Age Determination of Clusters using Color-Magnitude Diagram

    Radiation from Astronomical Sources

    Continuous Spectra

    Synchrotron Radiation


    Compton Scattering

    Bound-Free Transitions

    Absorption and Emission Line Spectrum

    Radial Velocity due to Doppler Effect

    Causes of Finite Width of Spectral Lines

    Molecular Band Spectra


    Extinction Coefficient

    Color Excess

    Stellar Structure

    Pressure Gradient

    Mass Distribution

    Energy Production

    Temperature Gradient

    Radiative Transport

    Convective Transport

    Boundary Conditions

    Rosseland Mean Opacity

    Equation of State

    Ideal Gas Law

    Stellar Energy Sources

    Appendix: Maxwell-Boltzmann Distribution

    Stellar Nuclear Reactions

    Fundamental Interactions

    Fundamental Particles

    A Brief Introduction to Neutrinos

    PP Chain

    Nuclear Reaction Rate

    Nuclear Reaction Rate: Derivation

    Nuclear Cross-Section

    Estimating the Nuclear Reaction Rate

    Energy Released in Nuclear Reactions

    Standard Solar Model

    Star Formation and Stellar Evolution

    Early Stage of Star Formation


    Evolution on the Main Sequence

    Degenerate Free Electron Gas

    Evolution beyond the Main Sequence

    Population I and II Stars

    White Dwarfs

    Neutron Star

    Black Holes


    The Sun

    Solar Atmosphere




    Dynamo Mechanism for Magnetic Field Enhancement

    Sunspots and the Solar Cycle

    Some Transient Phenomena

    The Solar System

    Orbital Properties of Planets

    Retrograde Motion of Planets

    Albedo and Temperature of Planets

    Terrestrial Planets: Interior Structure

    Jovian Planets

    The Moon

    Eclipses and Occultations

    Why Did Pluto Lose Its Planetship?

    Formation of the Solar System

    Binary Stars

    Kinematics of a Binary Star System

    Classification of Binary Stars

    Mass Determination

    Mass Transfer in Binary Systems

    The Milky Way

    The Distance Ladder

    Distribution of Matter in the Milky Way

    Differential Rotation of the Milky Way

    Mapping the Galactic Disk with Radio Waves

    Formation of the Spiral Arms


    Elliptical Galaxies

    Spiral Galaxies

    Evidence for Dark Matter

    Galaxy Clusters


    Euclidean Space

    Curved Space

    Minkowski Space-Time

    Big Bang Cosmology

    Cosmological Redshift and Hubble's Law

    FRW Line Element

    Matter and Radiation

    Cosmological Evolution Equations

    Accelerating Universe and Dark Energy

    The Early Universe

    Primordial Nucleosynthesis


    Structure Formation

    Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation (CMBR)

    Active Galaxies


    Active Galactic Nuclei: Some Basic Properties

    Size of AGNs


    Superluminal Motion

    Classification of Active Galaxies

    Seyfert Galaxies

    Radio Galaxies



    Unified Description of AGNs

    Appendix: Fundamental Constants and Conversion of Units



    Pankaj Jain obtained his doctoral degree from Syracuse University, New York, USA. He subsequently carried out postdoctoral research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Cambridge, USA; West Virginia University, Morgantown, USA; University of Kansas, Lawrence, USA; and University of Oklahoma, Norman, USA. Dr. Jain is currently a professor in the Physics Department at Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur. He is a theoretical physicist, whose chief interests are in high energy physics and cosmology. Presently, he is working on the models of dark energy and dark matter, cosmic microwave background radiation, observational tests of the cosmological principle, fundamental symmetries of nature, ultra-high energy cosmic rays, and strong interactions.

    "Jain has produced a concise, calculus-based textbook aimed at majors in their sophomore or junior years. … ideas are laid out in logical order, and key concepts are explained. End-of-chapter assignments include derivations, calculations (with specific equations often recommended), and verifications. … useful as a review for someone already familiar with the material. This title features useful diagrams … . Recommended for upper-division students."
    CHOICE, December 2015