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Constituents and Structure

Definition: Universe is a sum total of all matter and energy that exists or has existed both in space
and time.
It is defined as totality of everything that exists including all the matter and energy planets, stars,
galaxies and contents of intergalactic space.
Astronomy is the science which investigates all the matter and energy in the universe; its distribution,
composition, physical states, movements and evolution.
It is the study of the universe and celestial bodies, gas and dust within it.

It is a science that deals with scientific study of the origin and evolution of universe and nature of
universe on its largest scale.

The study of the movements and relative position of the celestial bodies interpreted as having an
influence on human affairs and natural world.
It is not a science.

Evolution of Cosmological Theories:

1. Geocentric Theory (Earth Centered Universe): This theory was given by Ptolemy, an
Alexandrian Scientist
This theory held that Earth is stationary and the center of the universe.
2. Haliocentric Theory (Sun Centered Universe): A Polish astronomer, Nicholas Copper
rejected the Earth Centered Theory.
He said that the sun is the center of universe and the Earth revolves around the sun.
Origin of the Universe:
Big Bang Theory:
Big bang was termed by Sir Fred Hoyle in 1950.
Once the singularity1 was created universe began to expand through a process called inflation.
Universe went from very small, very dense and very hot to cool expanse that we see today.

 Elementary particles like Protons and Neutrons could not initially exist due to its hotness and
 Matter and antimatter collided together, creating pure energy.
 As universe began to cool during the first few minutes protons and Neutrons began to born
 Then over a time these protons, neutrons and electrons combined to form Hydrogen and small
amounts of Helium.
 During billions of years, stars, planets, galaxies formed to create the universe.
Big Bang was origin of space and time. Time of big bang is taken as time zero.
Some scientists believe that this is the as widely accepted about the origin of universe.

A term physics use to describe regions of space that defy the laws of physics.
Some other theories argue that this theory is based on false premises.
Future of Universe:

Future of the

Closed Model Flat Model Cyclic Model Open Model

(Contracting (Steady state (Cyclic Universe (Expanding
Universe Theory) theory) Theory) universe Theory)

1. Closed Model: Expansion of universe will slow, stop and will ultimately contract back.
2. Flat Model: Universe will not collapse upon itself. But expansion will slow and approach a
stable size.
3. Open Model: Universe will continue expanding forever.
4. Cyclic Model: Universe will collapse and there will be big bang again, it will expand and
collapse again and this goes on.

How big is the known universe?

It is estimated that the diameter of the observable universe is about 28 billion parsecs
(93 billion light-years), putting the edge of the observable universe at about 46–47
billion light-years away

How many light years across is the universe?

The universe is about 13.7 billion years old. Light reaching us from the earliest
known galaxies has been traveling, therefore, for more than 13 billion years. So one
might assume that the radius of the universe is 13.7 billion light-years and that the
whole shebang is double that, or 27.4 billion light-years wide

How large is the universe?

1. The size of the Universe is unknown; it may be infinite. The region visible from
Earth (the observable universe) is a sphere with a radius of about 46 billion light
years, based on where the expansion of space has taken the most distant objects

A system of millions or billions of stars, together with gas and dust, held together by gravitational

 There are about 125 billion galaxies in the world.

 Milky Way and Andromeda are the examples of galaxy.
Types of galaxies:

Spiral Galaxy Elliptical Galaxy Irregular Galaxy

Held together by gravity Held together by gravity Held together by gravity

Pinwheel or disk shape Round-to-oval shape No regular shape

Bulge and thin disk; halo of Bulge but no disk; halo of stars May show signs of a disk
stars are present are present and/or a bulge; halo is present

Rich in gas and dust Little cool gas and dust Usually rich in gas and dust

Young and old stars are present Mainly old stars are present Young and old stars are present

Milky Way:
1. This is a large disk shaped galaxy that includes our solar system.
2. In addition to the sun Milky Way contains 200 to 400 billion stars.
3. This is a spiral galaxy.
4. Milky way is about 100,000 light years in diameter
5. This galaxy was formed about 14 billion years ago.
6. Sun takes about 250 million years to orbit around the Milky Way.
7. Our solar system is about 30,000 light years away from the center of the Milky Way
8. Our solar system is an minor arm called the Orion Spur/Orion arm
9. Region in space occupied by Milky Way is called galactic plane.
10. Nearest galaxy to Milky Way galaxy is Andromeda, which is 2,200,000 light years away
from us.
11. Our milky is the part of cluster of 3 dozens of galaxies called local group.
Star and Stellar Evolution:
“A star is a mass of gas held together and given its shape by its own gravity”
Stars are giant, luminous spheres of plasma
They emit there energy due to the nuclear fusion reaction occurring in them.
Example includes sun.
Life Cycle of Star
Spaces among the stars are filled with nebulas/nebulae2.
Nebula is a huge cloud of gas and dust in intergalactic space.
The gas in nebulae is mostly hydrogen gas.
Nebula is star forming cloud that would turn into a protostar.

Within these clouds matters clusters together as it collapse under gravity. In the centre of the star,
matter becomes increasingly compressed and heats up. It begins to give off heat and light us a
protostar. When the temperature of the protostar reaches 10 Million C or so, nuclear fusion reactions
begin and the star begins to shine. This phase of star’s life is called main sequence.
In a main sequence star, the nuclear reaction in its core is created by the fusion of Hydrogen Nuclei
into Helium Nuclei. What happens after all the Hydrogen has been fused into Helium and the main
sequence phase ends, is determined primarily by the mass of the star. Whether a star becomes a red
giant or supergiant depends on its mass.
of Stars



Supergiant Red Giant


Neutron White
Black Hole
Star Dwarf

Black Dwarf

Stars about the same size as our sun:

Star about the same size of our sun will convert into red giant after main sequence phase.
Red giant:
It is large star that is orange or reddish in color.
It represents the late phase of development in a star’s life, when its supply of hydrogen has been
exhausted and helium is being fused.
This causes the star to collapse raising the temperature in the core.
Outer surface of the star expand and cools, giving it a reddish color.
Planetary nebula:
It is created when a star blows off its outer layers after it has run out of fuel to burn.
These outer layers of gas expand into space forming a nebula which is often in the shape of a ring or a
About two hundred years ago William Herschel called these spherical clouds planetary nebulae
because they were round like planets.
White Dwarf:
What remains after the planetary nebulae stage is the dead core of the star, nuclear reaction no longer
takes place.
The core glows because of its residual heat.
They are very dense
Their size is about the same as that of the earth, but they contain as much mass the sun.
Black Dwarf:
Eventually core will radiates all of its heat into space and cool down to become what is known as
black dwarf.
Star much bigger than our sun:
Star much bigger than our sun will convert into red supergiant after main sequence phase.
Red super giants (RSG)
These are the largest stars in the universe in terms of volume, although they are not the most massive
The only difference between giant stars and super giant stars is their size
After the hydrogen in the star’s core has fused, star with more than about ten solar masses becomes
red super giants for the duration of their helium fusing phase.
These stars has very cool surface temperatures and enormous radii.
It is an exploding star
It is the result of one of the most energetic explosive events.
These occurs at the end of the star’s life, when its nuclear fuel exhausted and it is no longer supported
by the release of the nuclear energy.
Supernovas can briefly outshine entire galaxies and radiate more energy than our sun will in its entire
Neutron star:
They are formed from supernova explosion
It is very small, super dense star, which is composed mostly of tightly packed neutron star.
This hard to see body has a thin atmosphere of super-hot hydrogen plasma and crust.
It has diameter of about 5-10 miles and a density of roughly 1015 gram per cubic centimetre.
Black Hole:
It is massive object in space that is so dense that within a certain radius its gravitational field doesnot
let anything escape from it not even light.
It is thought that giant stars will evolve into red super giants than supernova and then black holes.
Typical black holes have a mass of roughly ten times than that of the sun.
Astronomers think that there may be a black holes at the centre of each galaxy
Astronomical Unit, Light-year and Parsec:
Astronomical unit, light year and parsec are the units for measuring huge distances.
An astronomical unit (AU) is defined as the average distance between the Earth and the Sun and it is
approximately 150 million kilometres.
A light-year is the distance that light can travel in one year in a vacuum, which is about 5.8 x 1012
miles or 63,240 AU or 9.46053 x 1012 kilometres.
A Parsec is a unit of distance that is equal to 3.26 light years or 3.085678 x 1013 kilometres.
It is the distance at which a star would have a parallax of 1 second arc.

Solar System
Our solar system consists of sun, planets, dwarf planets, moons and asteroid belts, comets, meteors
and other objects.
The sun is the center of the solar system, and all other objects in the solar system that orbit the sun.
Our solar system is elliptical in shape means egg shaped.
The sun is the biggest object in our solar system contains and more than 99% of the solar system’s
Astronomers think that this solar system is more than 5.4 billion years old.


Planets Satellites Asteriods Meteriods Comets

Sun is the closest star. It’s a member of Milky Way Galaxy and a yellow dwarf Star which means it is
a medium sized star. It is its main sequence phase and 4.5 billion years old. Scientists predict it will
die after 4.5 billion years.
Structure of Sun.
The Core:

The Sun's core is the central region where nuclear reactions consume hydrogen to form helium.
These reactions release the energy that ultimately leaves the surface as visible light. These reactions
are highly sensitive to temperature and density
This has tremendously high temperature and pressure. The temperature is roughly 15 Million C.
At this temperature, nuclear fusion3 occurs.
The photosphere is the visible surface of the Sun that we are most familiar with. Since the Sun is a
ball of gas, this is not a solid surface.
This is the lower atmosphere of sun and the part we see.
This layer is about 300 miles (500 Km) thick.
The temperature is about 5,500 C.
This lies between Chromosphere and central core.
This is the reddish layer outside the photosphere
The atmosphere ranges from 6000 C to 50,000 C.
This layer is few thousand miles thick
It appear red because hydrogens atoms are in excited state and Emit radiation near the red part of the
visible spectrum.
Chromo Sphere is visible during solar eclipses when the moon blocks the photosphere.

The Corona:
This is the outer layer of the sun’s atmosphere.
The Corona extends for millions of miles from surface of the sun and temperature reaches 1 million C

Solar Wind:
Streams of charged particles knows as the solar wind flow out from the sun.
These particles are emitted from the sun as the sun rotates solar wind blows in pinwheel pattern
throughout the solar system.
It takes solar wind about 5 days to reach Earth; it has the velocity of 800 km/s. It causes Aurora and
also develops the tail of comet.
Solar winds are generated due to the presence of plasma.

Sun Spots:
Sun spots are cool dark patches on the surface of the sun.
They are caused by disturbances in the sun’s magnetic field which makes them cooler then the
surrounding area.
Sun spots occur where the sun’s magnetic fields loops up the solar surface disrupting the convection
of gases below.
Sun spots are typically about half the temperature of the surrounding photosphere and so appear dark.
The large sunspots can be wider than Earth.

Solar Flare and Coronal Mass Ejections:

Solar Flares and Coronal mass ejections are explosions in the corona.

Nuclear fusion is turning of Hydrogen Nuclei into Helium Nuclei and a lot amount of energy is released
Solar flares release energy from magnetic loops in the corona, heating the gases of the
corona and sending particles and radiation out into the solar system.
A coronal mass ejection occurs when an explosion in the corona pushes millions or billions
of metric tons of material out into space.
The frequency of occurrence of both solar flares and CMEs follows the pattern of the 11-year sunspot
cycle (as the number of sunspots increases, so does the number of solar flares and CMEs).
Both kinds of solar explosions seem to result from the sudden release of energy stored in coronal
magnetic fields.

Important features of the Sun:

1. Diameter of sun is 1,391,940 km (870,000 miles)
2. Mass of Sun is 1.989 x 1030 or 330,000 times of Earth.
3. Sun is composed 70% H2, 24% He and 2% Heavy metals.
4. Age of the sun is about 4.5 billion years.
5. Density of sun is 1.41 gm/cm3
6. Temperature at surface of sun is 5,500 C (9932 F)
7. Temperature at core of the sun is 15 Million C (27.5 Million F)
8. Mean distance from Earth is 150 Million Km (93 Million Miles)
9. Sun has very large and active magnetic field.
10. Sun rotates around its axis in 25 to 35 days. 25 at Equator and 35 at Poles
11. Sun is moving around the center of Galaxy at a velocity of 220 Km/s
12. It revolves around Milky Way in about 250 Million years
13. The time taken to complete one revolution is called Cosmic Year
14. Sun’s rays reach Earth’s surface in 8 mints and 20 sec.

Planet, any major celestial body that orbits a star and does not emit visible light of its own but instead
shines by reflected light. Smaller bodies that also orbit a star and are not satellites of a planet are
called asteroids or planetoids. In the solar system, there are eight official planets: Mercury, Venus,
Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune. Pluto, once counted as the ninth planet, is now
classified as a dwarf planet. Planets that orbit stars other than the Sun are collectively called extrasolar
planets. At least 322 planets existing in other solar systems have been discovered.

Inner Rocky Inferior Planets

 Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars are the planets closest to sun.
 They are called the inner planets.
 The inner planets are made up mostly of rock. Therefore, they are also called Rocky or
Terrestrial Planets.
 They are very small compared to the outer planets. Therefore, are also called inferior planets.
Outer, Jovian, Gaseous or Superior Planets

 Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune is all called Jovian (Jupiter-like) planets. Because
they are large in size.
 All outer planets are also called Gaseous planets because they have an atmosphere of
Hydrogen and Helium.
 They are very large as compared to the inner planets. Therefore are also called superior
 These planets also have rings.

 Smallest and fastest revolving planet.

 Diameter = 4900 km
 It is of same size as of moon
 Closest to sun
 It has no atmosphere, therefore human life is impossible there.
 Its surface has holes, where objects like meteorites and asteroids crash into it.
 Made up of rocks and iron like earth, there has very high density.
 It completes its revolution in 88 days
 It is 58 million km away from sun.
 Temperature = ranges from -170 to 450 C

 Hottest, brightest, and slowest rotating planet.
 Venus can be seen with naked eye hence it is also called Morning or Evening star.
 Closest planet to earth.
 Temperature = 460-480 C, on the side facing the sun
 Venus has very thick and rapidly spinning clouds of CO2 which covers its surface.
 These clouds hold heat in it that is why Venus gets so hot.
 These clouds also reflect sun light that is why Venus appear so bright.
 It has several large inactive volcanoes
 It is unusual because it rotates from east to west, while all other planets rotates from west
to east.
 One day of Venus is equal to 243 earth days.
 It revolution period is 225 days
 Has no rings and moons.
 It is almost equal the size of earth, there it is termed as sister planet of earth.

 Colourful and most dense planet.
 Biggest of all the rocky/terrestrial planets.
 It is third in position and fifth largest in solar system.
 Diameter = 7927 miles or 12755 km
 The circumference around the equator = 24901 miles or 40075 km.
 Land = 30% and Water = 70%
 It has only one moon called Luna.
 Has an atmosphere made up of many different gases mainly nitrogen and oxygen.
 Earth orbit around the sun and revolution period is one year or 365 days.
 It rotates around its axis.
 It takes 23 hrs 56 mints and 4 seconds to spin around its axis.
 It is the only planet of solar system which can support life.
 Earth is the densest planet and it is density is 5.52 gram/cm3

 Mars is covered with red dust that is why it is called red planet.
 Second smallest planet
 Temperature mars can be very cold. Mars has average temperature of -30 C.
 At the top and the bottom of the planet are poles just like on earth
 Mars has many craters which are formed by meteorites or asteroids hitting it.
 Mars also has some of the tallest volcanoes and some of the deepest valleys in our solar
 It has two moons, Phobos and Demos, which have unusual shapes.
 Mars atmosphere is composed of CO2
 Diameter = 6780 km or 4213 miles
 Mars is 228 million km away from sun.
 Its rotation period is 24 hrs and forty minutes
 Its revolution period is 687 days

 The Biggest and fastest rotating planet.

 It is the large gaseous planet, whose cloud change colour daily.
 It is made up mostly of hydrogen and helium gases
 Huge stones of swirling gases can be found in Jupiter’s atmosphere.
 The largest storm of gas is called the great red spot.
 Large bolts of lightning have also been seen in Jupiter’s atmosphere.
 Jupiter has 67 moons, of these 67 moons 50 are confirmed. While 17 still waiting for
 By international astronomical union, Ganymede is the largest moon of Jupiter and is the
largest in our solar system.
 One day of the Jupiter is equal to 9 hours and 55 mints of the Earth and is the fastest
rotating planet.
 Its revolution period is 11.86 years.
 It is 1350 times bigger than Earth in volume and 318 times massive than earth, it has
rings which are not visible.
 Average temperature of the Jupiter is -150 C
1. Saturn is a very large gaseous planet which spins very rabidly on it axis. Its rotation period
is 10 hours and 15 minutes
2. Saturn’s atmosphere has winds which can blow at over 1800 kilometres per hour
3. The white spots on Saturn are believed to be powerful storms.
4. Saturn is surrounding by over 1000 rings made of ice and dust. Some of the rings are very
thin and some very thick. Because of these rings, Saturn is names as Ring Planet.
5. Saturn has at least 62 moons Saturn has the atmosphere of hydrogen and helium
6. It is the lightest planets as its density is equal to 0.71 g/cc
7. Its diameter is 120,800 km
8. Its distance from the sun is 1430 million km
9. Its average temperature is -180 C
10. Titan (Saturn’s Moon) is the 2nd largest moon of our solar system. It is the only moon in solar
system which has atmosphere of nitrogen.

 Uranus tilts over so far onitsaxis that its poles are sometimes pointed almost directly at the
 Uranus’s atmosphere is made up of hydrogen, helium and methane.
 The temperature in the upper atmosphere is very cold.
 The cold methane gas gives Uranus its blue-green colour.
 The rapid rotation of Uranus causes winds up to 600 kilometres per hour to blow in its
 Uranus has 13 known rings which contain dark, boulder-sized particles.
 Uranus has 27 named moons
 Its rotations periods is 17 hours
 Its revolution periods is 84 earth years
 Its mean distance from sun is 2870 million km
 Its diameter is 51810 km

 Neptune and Uranus are very much alike. They are both large gaseous planets that look like
big blue-green balls in the sky. Therefore, these are called twin planets
 Neptune has winds in its atmosphere which blow at over 2000 kilometres per hour
 This planet has large, dark circles on its surface which astronomers believe to be storms.
 Neptune has two thick and two thin rings surrounding it.
 Neptune also has 13 known moons.
 Neptune is the farthest planet from the Sun
 The period of rotation is about 16 hours
 It is slowest revolving planet and its orbital periods is of 165 years
 Its diameter is 49,500 km
 It is 4500 million km away from the sun
 Its biggest moon Triton is the 6the largest moon of our solar system.
Difference between Star & Planet
Star Planet
1. Star is a massive shining sphere of hot 1. Planet is a round body in space that
gas orbits a star
2. A star shines by releasing light 2. A planet shines by reflecting light of a
produced by nuclear fusion star
3. Our solar system has only one star. i.e. 3. Our solar system has eight major
sun and there are other countless stars in planets. There are also exoplanets
the universe present in the universe
4. There are different heavenly object that 4. Object that revolve around planets are
revolve around star such as a planet, satellites
dwarf planet asteroid. Etc. 5. Planet revolve around star
5. Star evolve around the centre of its own 6. Some planets are very cool others are
galaxy very hot.
6. Stars have very high temperature like 7. Example are Earth, Venus, Mars ,
sun has a surface temperature of 5500 to Jupiter etc.
60000 C
7. Example are Sun, Proxima Centauri,
Antares and Pistol Star

Dwarf Planets:
A dwarf planet is an object that orbits the sun and has enough mass to give it a nearly round shape.
It is not a satellite of another object and has not cleared the neighbourhood of its own orbit.
Pluto, Eris, Makemake, and Ceres are the examples of dwarf planets.
Pluto is considered to be dwarf planet, because objects in the Kuiper belt or within its orbit. It is
unable to attract them.
According to the definition of dwarf planets, Pluto has not cleared the neighbourhood. Therefore, this
is declared as a dwarf planet.
It has a very unusual orbit, once every 248 earth years Pluto swings in the orbit of Neptune. It stays
there for 20 years. During these 20 years Pluto is closer to the sun than Neptune. Pluto has three
moons “Charon”, “Nix” and “Hydra”.
Pluto’s largest moon is “Charon” which is half the size of Pluto.
Pluto is colder than planets of the solar system.

 Natural Satellite is a body in space that orbits a larger body (Planet). The larger body is
referred to as the satellite’s primary. Natural satellites that orbit planets are often called
 Our moon named Luna is the fifth largest moon in the Solar System. Its diameter is 3475 km
and its mass is 7.3 x 1022 kg (1/81 of earth). Its density is 3.347 g/cm3.
 The average distance from the Moon to the Earth is 384,400 kilometres (238,857 miles).
 The Moon orbits the Earth every 27 days and 7 hours (actual).
 The moon rotates on its axis in around the same length of time it takes to orbit the Earth.
 The side that we can see from Earth is called the near side while the other side is called the far
side. We only ever see around 60% of its surface.
 The effect of gravity on moon surface is 1/6th of Earth’s gravity.
 The average surface temperature of the Moon is 107 degree Celsius during the day and -153
degrees Celsius at night.
 The tides in the oceans are largely caused by gravitational pull of the Moon.
 Moon has no atmosphere but it has negligible amount of inert gases.
 It takes 1.3 seconds to moonlight to reach the Earth
 Moon is 1/4th the size of its mother planet Earth.

Phases of the Moon:

When Moon is between Earth and the Sun (Sun-Moon-Earth), the Sun lights the side of the Moon
facing away from Earth, and the side of the Moon facing toward Earth is dark.
This point in the Moon’s orbit corresponds to a phase of the called the New Moon.
When the Moon is on the opposite side of the Earth from the Sun, (moon-earth-sun) the face of the
Moon visible from Earth is lit, showing the full moon in the sky.
The first quarter and third quarter moons, both often called a half-moon, happen when the moon is at
a 90 degree angle with the respect to the Earth and Sun.
So we are seeing exactly half of the Moon illuminated and half in shadow.
The word Crescent refers to the phases where the moon is less than half illuminated.
The word Gibbous refers to phases where the moon is more than half illuminated.
Waxing essentially means growing or expanding in illuminations.
Waning means shrink or decreasing in illumination.

Synodic Month and Sidereal Month

 The time it takes the moon to orbit the Earth is about 27.3 days (27days 7 hours).
o This period is called the sidereal month.
 However, between each appearance of the new moon, which occurs when the moon appears
closest to the sun it takes about 29.5 days (29days, 12hour).
o Due to relative motion of Earth, it takes almost 29 days and 12 hours to complete its
o This period is called Synodic orLunar month.
 The Synodic month is longer than the sidereal month because the Earth has also been moving
around the sun.
o In short, Moon’s actual revolution period is 27 days and 7 hours.

Space Exploration

 In 1926, an American rocket engineer Robert Goddard build and test the first rocket which
used liquid fuels instead of solid gun powder.
 In 1957, the Russians successfully launched the first satellite Sputnik-I
 The first American satellite was Explorer-I
 In 1961, Vostok I, the first manned space flight was launched by Russians and cosmonaut
Yuri Gagarin was on board.
 On July 21, 1969, Apollo-II landed the first astronauts on the moon by Americans,
Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin descended into the Sea of Tranquillity on the
eastern side of the moon.
Another astronaut Michal Collins remained in the command module and circled the
moon, taking charge of communications with the Earth.
 Badr-1 (Badr-A) was Pakistan’s first indigenously-developed satellite and was launched on
July 16, 1990.
 Paksat 1 was Pakistan’s first geostationary satellite.

Aphelion and Perihelion
Aphelion is the point in its orbit where a planet, asteroid or comet is farthest from the Sun.
Asteroid and Meteoroid
Asteroid are the largest non-planetary and non-lunar objects in the solar system.
These objects are larger than 1 km (1000 meters) in diameter and less than 1000 km in diameter.
The largest asteroid is Ceres, with a diameter of 950.
They are generally irregular in shape and often have surfaces covered with craters.
These are also named as minor planets or Planetoids.
Most of them orbit between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter.
Meteoroids are basically the smaller bodies in between the planets, defined as a rocky-metallic
objects less than 1 km (1000 meters) in diameters.
These objects generally fall to Earth.
While heated to glow by atmospheric friction,during their passage through the atmosphere, they are
termed meteors.
A fragment that survives to hit the ground known as a meteorite.
Large meteorites strike the earth the tremendous impact, creating huge craters.
The largest known meteorite, estimated to weigh about 60 metric tonnes, is situated at Hoba West
near Grootfontein, Namibia.
Here is comparison of asteroids and meteoroids

Asteroid Meteoroid
Asteroid are rocky or metallic objects A meteoroid is also rocky object ranging from
speck of dust to a boulder floating in the solar
They are considered minor planets or These are considered remains of comets or
planetoids. steroids.
They can be very large 1 to 1000 km These are small in size less than one km
These revolve mainly in between Mars and These can be anywhere in the solar system
Jupiter. But present in other areas also. because these are remain of steroid or comets.

Comet and Halley’s Comet:

A comet is celestial body that orbits around the sun.
It is made up of:
1. Nucleus (solid, frozen ice, gas and dust),
2. Gaseous coma (water vapour, CO2and other gases) and
3. Tail (dust and ionized gases).
Its long tail of gas and dust always points away from the sun, because of the force of the solar wind.
The tail can be up to 250 million km long.
Comets are only visible when they are near the sun in their highly eccentric orbits.
When comets are farthest from the sun they are named “dirty snowball”
Hailey’s Comet is a periodic comet that orbits around the sun.
Edmund Halley was the first person to recognize that it is a periodic.
It was last seen in 1986 and will be seen next in the year 2061; its period is 75 years.
Aurora is the luminous atmospheric phenomenon appearing as bands of light sometimes visible in the
night sky in northern or southern regions of the earth.
The aurora consists of rapidly shifting patches and dancing columns of light of various colors.
It is thought to be caused by charged particles (solar wind) from the sun entering the Earth’s
magnetic field and stimulating molecules in the atmosphere (ionosphere).
Aurora Borealis or the Northern Lights occur in northern hemisphere; a similar effect happens in the
southern hemisphere where it is known as the Aurora Australis or Southern Lights.
Black body:
It is an idealized object that absorbs all the radiation that strikes its surface, without reflecting any of
the radiation or emitting any of its own.
Blue Moon
The modern day definition of a Blue Moon is when there are 2 full moons in one Month.
A full moon occurs roughly every 29.5 days.
On the rare occasions, full moon falls at the very beginning of a monththen there is a good chance that
a Blue Moon will occur at the end of the month.
According to this definition the next blue moon will occur on July 31, 2015.

 Constellation are any of 88 imagined groupings of bright stars that appear on the celestial
sphere and that are named after religious or mythological figures, animals, or objects.
 The term also refers to the delimited areas on the celestial sphere that contain the named
groups of stars.
 Constellation can be viewed after sunset and before sunrise
 The largest constellation is the hydra.
 Big dipper is the common name applied to a conspicuous constellation in the northern
celestial, near the North Pole

It is the imaginary belt in the celestial sphere.
The width of the zodiac was determined originally so as to include the orbits of the Sun and Moon and
of the five planets (Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn) that were known to the people of
ancient times.
The zodiac is divided into 12 sections, which are called the signs of the zodiac.
The names of the zodiacal signs are:
Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius,Pisces,

Cosmic Rays:
Cosmic Rays, subatomic particles arriving from outer space, which have high energy as a result of
their rapid motion.
They can travel nearly at the speed of light.
They are positively charged particle mainly protons.
Some come from sun while others come from outside the solar system.
There exact nature and source yet not fully determined.
Doppler Shift/ Doppler Effect
The Doppler Shift is an increase or decrease in wave length as the object emitting the wave moves
relation to the observer.
For example, a train whistle seems to be higher in pitch when the train is approaching observer (the
wavers re compressed, shortening the wavelength), and the lower in pitch when it is travelling away
from the observer (the waves are elongated, lengthening the wavelength).
The same thing happens with light waves when the light source is coming or going relative to us.
When a star is travelling away from the Earth, its light appears redder (the light wavers extended,
lengthening the wavelength); this called the Red Shift.
And when source of light is moving towards us, it produces Blue Shift
Kuiper Belt:
The Kuiper belt is a region beyond Neptune in which at least 70,000 small objects (KBO’s) orbit.
This belt is located from 30 to 50 AU and was discovered in 1992.
The Kuiper belt may be the source of the short-period comets (like Halley’s Comet).
The Kuiper belt was named for the Dutch-American astronomer Gerard P. Kuiper, who predicted its
existence in 1951.
Leap Year
Leap years are years with an extra day (February 29); this happens every four years.
Generally, leap years are divisible by four, but century years are special, they must also be divisible by
Thus 1900 was not a leap year but 2000 was.
Following years 2004, 2008, 2012, 2016 are leap years.
Earth revolves around the Sun once every year or 365.25 days.
A calendar year is of 365 days so we take care of the extra 0.25 day by adding a day to the calendar
every year four years, creating a leap year.
Why do the Stars Twinkle?
Stars are actually very large, but they are very far away so they look small.
The only reason that we see stars at all at such enormously large distances is that they are
exceptionally bright.
Starlight comes toward Earth along a path through space that produces very little change in the
Earth’s atmosphere is in constant motion, with pockets of hot and cold air moving around this change
in the apparent position of a star changes its brightness. Both of these effects together produce the
sensation that we call “twinkling” stars.
Variable Stars
A variable star is a star that changes in brightness. These fluctuations can range from seconds o years
depending on the type of variable star. Stars usually change their brightness when they are young and
when they are old and dying.
Space Shuttle
Spacecraft designed for transporting humans and cargo to and from orbit aroundEarth is called space
shuttle. The Unites States National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) developed the
shuttle in the 1970s to serve as a reusable rocket and spacecraft. This objective differed significantly
from that of previous space programmes in which the launch and space vehicles could be used only
once. After ten years of preparation, the first space shuttle, Columbia, Atlantis, which arrived in 1985;
and Endeavour, which joined the fleet in 1991.
An astrolabe is an instrument that was used to determine the attitude of (like the sun) in the sky. It was
first used around 200 B>C. by astronomers in Greece. The astrolabe was replaced by the sextant
Pistol Star
The pistol star is the one of the largest stars. It is the most massive and the brightest star. It is 10
million times brighter than our Sun and 100 times more massive. This star is at the center of the Pistol
Nebula and created it by expelling tremendous amounts of gas in violent eruptions.
Stephen Hawking
This famous scientist is considered the greatest scientist of 20th Century after Einstein. Hawking’s big
bang theory and black hole theory attached the attention of the world. He is the professor of
Mathematics of the University of Cambridge. Though he is now about to be paralyzed, he teaching
through a computer-supported machine by which his words are compiled. His physical illness could
not make him stop from his research. His famous book is “A brief History of time”
Space Station:
Space Station, any facility that enables humans to live in space for long periods of time. Space
stations are used as laboratories where scientific and engineering experiments are conducted and as
servicing centers where spacecraft can be repaired, upgraded, or even constructed. Space stations are
expected to one day act as spaceports where spacecraft can pick up and deliver people, cargo, and fuel
on the way to or returning from distant destinations, such as Mars.
The international Space Station (ISS) is the largest space project to date and the most complex
international scientific project in history. It is joint collaboration of 16 countries. The station has been
in orbit since 1998 and is expected to remain in operation until at least 2020.
Early bird/ Intelsat 1:
It was a communication satellite launched in 1965.
It provided direct contact between the United States and Europe.
Pulsars are types of neutron stars; the dead relics of massive stars. What sets pulsars apart from
regular neutron stars is that they’re highly magnetized, and rotating at enormous speeds. Astronomers
detect them by the radio pulses they emit at regular intervals. They emit energy in pulses.
Blue supergiant star

Blue super giants are supergiant stars (class I) of spectral type O.

They are extremely hot and bright, with surface temperatures of between 20,000 - 50,000 degrees
The best known example is Rigel, the brightest star in the constellation of Orion.
It has a mass of around 20 times that of the Sun and gives out more light than 60,000 suns added
Despite their rarity and their short lives blue supergiant stars are heavily represented among the stars
visible to the naked eye; their inherent brightness trumps their scarcity.
Blue super giants represent a slower burning phase in the death of a massive star.
Due to core nuclear reactions being slightly slower, the star contracts and since very similar energy is
coming from a much smaller area (photosphere) then the star's surface becomes much hotter.
Blue giant is post-main sequence star that burn helium
Red dwarf

A red dwarf is a small, cool, very faint, main sequence star whose surface temperature is under about
4000 k. The largest population of stars in the galaxy hide in the shadows, too dim to be seen with the
naked eye from Earth. Their limited radiance helps to extend their lifetimes, which are far greater than
that of the sun.

Scientists think that 20 out of the 30 stars nearest to Earth are red dwarfs; however, none of them can
be seen with the naked eye. The closest star to the sun, Proxima Centauri, is a red dwarf.

Yellow dwarf
A yellow dwarf is a main-sequence star, producing energy by converting hydrogen to helium through
nuclear fusion in its core. Outward pressure produced by this energy is balanced by the force of the
star's own gravity, creating a state called hydrostatic equilibrium that keeps the star from either
collapsing or exploding. A yellow dwarf remains on the main sequence for around ten billion years,
slowly becoming brighter as it ages. As more and more hydrogen in the star's core is converted into
helium, the core contracts and grows hotter until its energy output overcomes the star's own gravity.
Yellow dwarf stars are fairly common, making up about 7.5 percent of the stars in the Milky
Waygalaxy. A yellow dwarf can be solitary like the sun or part of a binary or multiple star system.
Well-known yellow dwarfs visible from Earth with the naked eye include Alpha Centauri and Tau
Ceti. A yellow dwarf is a type of main-sequence star, more properly called a G-type main sequence
star. Earth's sun is a typical example of this type of star. This type of star has a mass of between 80
percent and 120 percent of the mass of the Earth's sun. These stars vary in color from white to light
yellow. The sun is actually white, but looks yellow from Earth's surface because its light is scattered
in the atmosphere.
Dwarf star
Dwarf stars are relatively small stars, up to 20 times larger than our sun and up to 20000 times
brighter. Our sun is dwarf sun.
Star classification
Stars are classified by their spectra (the elements that they absorb) and their temperature. There are
seven main types of stars. In order of decreasing temperature, O, B, A, F, G, K, and M.
O and B stars are uncommon but very bright; M stars are common but dim.
An easy mnemonic for remembering these is: "Oh be a fine guy/girl, kiss me."

The Hertz sprung -Russell (H-R) Diagram is a graph that plots stars color (spectral type or surface
temperature) vs. its luminosity (intrinsic brightness or absolute magnitude). On it, astronomers plot
stars' color, temperature, luminosity, spectral type, and evolutionary stage. This diagram shows that
there are 3 very different types of stars: main sequence, supergiant and white dwarf.