Radiation astronomy/Courses/Principles

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This image is a composite of several types of radiation astronomy: radio, infrared, visual, ultraviolet, soft and hard X-ray. Credit: NASA.

The course objective is to provide students with the principles of radiation astronomy. At the end of the course, a student should have a well-rounded knowledge of astronomy, radiation, and observational and theoretical astronomy, each as they apply to radiation sources in the sky especially at night.

The course is built upon the ongoing research performed by astronomers around the world and in the not so empty space above the Earth's atmosphere.

In line with the Wikiversity ideal of learning by doing are sixteen laboratory opportunities, an equal number of problem sets at several levels, and participatory lessons. To present a wide variety of concepts within radiation astronomy, there are forty-eight lectures which are also partly articles as references from the scholarly literature are included to challenge the student and open doors to further curiosity. Some sixteen supplemental quiz section lectures/articles are included for additional learning.

The course material is layered from a primary/secondary level, to a university/tertiary level, and topped off with an introduction to research of which some is here at Wikiversity. A label indicating the education level may not be present for each resource.

Nuvola apps edu science.svg Educational level: this is a research resource.

The general subject area is astronomy. This includes knowledge of physics, chemistry, geography, history, and other subjects.

Crystal Clear Sharemanager.png Resource type: this resource is a course.

In some instances your interaction and responses may be used for research purposes. Your username and/or other identifiers are not included. If the resource itself is also being used for research purposes you will see the icon: Bob, the guinea pig.jpg.

Nuvola apps kmoon.png Subject classification: this is an astronomy resource.


Although a working knowledge of calculus and physics is beneficial, most concepts presented require only an understanding of algebra. Additional learning resources are also provided through the course to increase a student's background knowledge.

Completion levels[edit]

This course is dynamic, but may also be taken as a semester offering by Wikiversity, see the syllabus for the next formal class period.

Lectures and quizzes may have a level of completion icon following it based on ≥ 100 kb equals 100 %, or 100 questions is 100 %, the midterm and final are based on 300 questions equals 100 %:

  1. This resource is a stub, which means that pretty well nothing has been done yet. 0-5%. Smiley green alien cry.svg
  2. This resource is just getting off the ground. Please feel welcome to help! 6-15%. Tulliana launch.png
  3. Been started, but most of the work is still to be done - 16-30%. SYawning.svg
  4. About halfway there. You may help to clarify and expand it - 31-45%. Face-blush.svg
  5. Almost complete, but you can help make it more thorough - 46-60%. Nuvola apps kcontrol.gif
  6. Ready for testing by learners and teachers. Please begin! 61-75%. Sweden road sign A10.svg
  7. This resource is considered to be ready for use - 76-90%. Emblem-extra-cool.svgR
  8. This resource has reached a high level of completion - 91-100%. Emblem-extra-cool.svgC

All resources have been completed in time for students taking the course during any semester. Updates to any resource that do not affect course content may occur at any time. Other updates may occur either with appropriate notices or where the subsequent update is incorporated in any subsequent hourly, midterm or final quiz. Additional content revisions or updates will occur between semester offerings.

A completion icon may not be present for resources already at 100 %.

Lecture or article changes that affect content after the beginning of a semester are not included in that term's requirements:

  1. Meteorites has been changed to include more iron meteorites.
  2. Rocky objects described in Meteorites that are not meteorites or the product of meteorite falls or strikes are being removed as they are duplicates of material already in the course. Students are responsible for this material where it occurs outside the meteorites lecture/article.


Each set of three lectures are associated with the learning-by-doing laboratory experiences, mini-lectures plus quizzes for the student to test their learning progress with some additional information, 2-3 lengthier exams often referred to as 'hourlies' (may take an hour to work through at a timed pace), a mid-term exam which is all-encompassing for the first half, and a final exam over the entire course material. The examinations are designed to be taken iteratively as many times as the student desires to achieve a thorough working knowledge of the subject.

Quiz section lectures[edit]

Lectures under development for possible inclusion[edit]

  1. Airborne astronomy Tulliana launch.png
  2. Analytical astronomy Tulliana launch.png
  3. Ariel Smiley green alien cry.svg
  4. Astrogeology Tulliana launch.png
  5. Astroglaciology Emblem-extra-cool.svgC
  6. Astrognosy SYawning.svg
  7. Astrohistory Emblem-extra-cool.svgR
  8. Background astronomy Emblem-extra-cool.svgC
  9. Balloons for astronomy SYawning.svg
  10. Beta-particles astronomy Smiley green alien cry.svg
  11. Callisto Face-blush.svg
  12. Ceres Tulliana launch.png
  13. Classical planets Emblem-extra-cool.svgC
  14. Comets Tulliana launch.png
  15. Early telescopes Nuvola apps kcontrol.gif
  16. Earth SYawning.svg
  17. Earth-orbit astronomy Face-blush.svg
  18. Empirical astronomy Smiley green alien cry.svg
  19. Empirical radiation astronomy SYawning.svg
  20. Entity astronomy SYawning.svg
  21. Europa Nuvola apps kcontrol.gif
  22. Exploratory astronomy Tulliana launch.png
  23. Galactic evolution
  24. Ganymede Face-blush.svg
  25. Gaseous-object astronomy Face-blush.svg
  26. Gaseous-object astronomy/Jupiter Smiley green alien cry.svg
  27. Gaseous-object astronomy/Neptune Smiley green alien cry.svg
  28. Gaseous-object astronomy/Saturn Smiley green alien cry.svg
  29. Gaseous-object astronomy/Sun Smiley green alien cry.svg
  30. Gaseous-object astronomy/Uranus Smiley green alien cry.svg
  31. Heliocentric astronomy Tulliana launch.png
  32. Heliognosy Face-blush.svg
  33. Heliogony Tulliana launch.png
  34. Heliography Face-blush.svg
  35. Heliology Tulliana launch.png
  36. Heliometry SYawning.svg
  37. Heliophysics SYawning.svg
  38. Helioseismology Smiley green alien cry.svg
  39. Heliosphere Tulliana launch.png
  40. Intensity astronomy Smiley green alien cry.svg
  41. Io SYawning.svg
  42. Jupiter Sweden road sign A10.svg
  43. Kuiper belts Smiley green alien cry.svg
  44. Liquid-object astronomy Tulliana launch.png
  45. Liquid-object astronomy/Earth Face-blush.svg
  46. Liquid-object astronomy/Saturn Smiley green alien cry.svg
  47. Magnetohydrodynamics Emblem-extra-cool.svgR
  48. Mars SYawning.svg
  49. Mercury Nuvola apps kcontrol.gif
  50. Meson astronomy SYawning.svg
  51. Microwave astronomy Sweden road sign A10.svg
  52. Milky Way Face-blush.svg
  53. Mineral astronomy Tulliana launch.png
  54. Mineralogy Smiley green alien cry.svg
  55. Minerals Sweden road sign A10.svg
  56. Miranda Smiley green alien cry.svg
  57. Moon Emblem-extra-cool.svgR
  58. Neptune SYawning.svg
  59. Neutrals astronomy SYawning.svg
  60. Nucleosynthesis Face-blush.svg
  61. Object astronomy SYawning.svg
  62. Oort clouds Smiley green alien cry.svg
  63. Orbital-platform astronomy Smiley green alien cry.svg
  64. Planetary astronomy Nuvola apps kcontrol.gif
  65. Planets Emblem-extra-cool.svgC
  66. Planets around other stars Smiley green alien cry.svg
  67. Plasma-object astronomy SYawning.svg
  68. Pluto Smiley green alien cry.svg
  69. Radar astronomy Nuvola apps kcontrol.gif
  70. Radiation objects SYawning.svg
  71. Radiation physics Face-blush.svg
  72. Radiation sources SYawning.svg
  73. Regional astronomy Nuvola apps kcontrol.gif
  74. Rocks Tulliana launch.png
  75. Rocky-object astronomy Emblem-extra-cool.svgC
  76. Rocky-object astronomy/Earth Sweden road sign A10.svg
  77. Rocky-object astronomy/Mars Smiley green alien cry.svg
  78. Rocky-object astronomy/Mercury Smiley green alien cry.svg
  79. Rocky-object astronomy/Venus Smiley green alien cry.svg
  80. Saturn Nuvola apps kcontrol.gif
  81. Scattered discs Smiley green alien cry.svg
  82. Solar astronomy Tulliana launch.png
  83. Solar systems Emblem-extra-cool.svgR
  84. Sounding rockets for astronomy SYawning.svg
  85. Standard-candles astronomy Tulliana launch.png
  86. Standard solar models Tulliana launch.png
  87. Stars Smiley green alien cry.svg
  88. Stellar astronomy Face-blush.svg
  89. Stellar evolution Smiley green alien cry.svg
  90. Subatomics astronomy
  91. Sun Emblem-extra-cool.svgC
  92. Sun-synchronous astronomy Smiley green alien cry.svg
  93. Titan Nuvola apps kcontrol.gif
  94. Titania Smiley green alien cry.svg
  95. Trigonometric-parallax astronomy Smiley green alien cry.svg
  96. Triton Smiley green alien cry.svg
  97. Uranus Emblem-extra-cool.svgR
  98. Venus Face-blush.svg
  99. Vesta Face-blush.svg


For the course, sixteen laboratories should be completed. Examinations containing information from any laboratory will list it.


Lessons are participatory original research projects. They are part of the history of science and only require some skills in map reading and comparison and contrast. Some familiarity with literature searching such as on Wikipedia, SIMBAD, or the web is beneficial and included in the instructions.

Problem sets[edit]

Under development:

  1. Lenses and focal length Smiley green alien cry.svg
  2. Neutrino emissions Smiley green alien cry.svg


The quizzes are rated by number of questions, with 100 questions being a high level of completion, even though some are left at lower numbers of questions.

  1. Astronomical observatories/Quiz Nuvola apps kcontrol.gif
  2. Astronomy/Quiz Tulliana launch.png
  3. Astrophysics/Quiz SYawning.svg
  4. Blue astronomy/Quiz Face-blush.svg
  5. Coronal cloud/Quiz SYawning.svg
  6. Cosmogony/Quiz Nuvola apps kcontrol.gif
  7. Cosmic-ray astronomy/Quiz SYawning.svg
  8. Crater astronomy/Quiz SYawning.svg
  9. Cyan astronomy/Quiz SYawning.svg
  10. Electron astronomy/Quiz SYawning.svg
  11. First astronomical source/Quiz SYawning.svg
  12. First astronomical X-ray source/Quiz Emblem-extra-cool.svgC
  13. Galaxies/Quiz Tulliana launch.png
  14. Gamma-ray astronomy/Quiz Tulliana launch.png
  15. Green astronomy/Quiz Emblem-extra-cool.svgC
  16. Infrared astronomy/Quiz SYawning.svg
  17. Intergalactic medium/Quiz Tulliana launch.png
  18. Interplanetary medium/Quiz SYawning.svg
  19. Interstellar medium/Quiz SYawning.svg
  20. Lofting technology/Quiz SYawning.svg
  21. Mathematical astronomy/Quiz Tulliana launch.png
  22. Meteor astronomy/Quiz SYawning.svg
  23. Meteorites/Quiz SYawning.svg
  24. Muon astronomy/Quiz SYawning.svg
  25. Neutrino astronomy/Quiz Face-blush.svg
  26. Neutron astronomy/Quiz SYawning.svg
  27. Optical astronomy/Quiz Face-blush.svg
  28. Orange astronomy/Quiz SYawning.svg
  29. Planetary science/Quiz Nuvola apps kcontrol.gif
  30. Positron astronomy/Quiz Tulliana launch.png
  31. Proton astronomy/Quiz SYawning.svg
  32. Radiation/Quiz SYawning.svg
  33. Radiation astronomy/Quiz Emblem-extra-cool.svgC
  34. Radiation chemistry/Quiz Nuvola apps kcontrol.gif
  35. Radiation detectors/Quiz Emblem-extra-cool.svgR
  36. Radiation entities/Quiz Tulliana launch.png
  37. Radiation geography/Quiz Nuvola apps kcontrol.gif
  38. Radiation history/Quiz Nuvola apps kcontrol.gif
  39. Radiation mathematics/Quiz SYawning.svg
  40. Radiation satellites/Quiz SYawning.svg
  41. Radiation telescopes/Quiz SYawning.svg
  42. Radiative dynamo/Quiz SYawning.svg
  43. Radio astronomy/Quiz SYawning.svg
  44. Red astronomy/Quiz SYawning.svg
  45. Solar binary/Quiz SYawning.svg
  46. Source astronomy/Quiz SYawning.svg
  47. Standard candles/Quiz SYawning.svg
  48. Star fission/Quiz SYawning.svg
  49. Star-forming region/Quiz Tulliana launch.png
  50. Stellar active region/Quiz Nuvola apps kcontrol.gif
  51. Stellar science/Quiz SYawning.svg
  52. Stellar surface fusion/Quiz Tulliana launch.png
  53. Submillimeter astronomy/Quiz SYawning.svg
  54. Sun as an X-ray source/Quiz SYawning.svg
  55. Superluminal astronomy/Quiz SYawning.svg
  56. Theoretical astronomy/Quiz Tulliana launch.png
  57. Theoretical radiation astronomy/Quiz Emblem-extra-cool.svgC
  58. Ultraviolet astronomy/Quiz Tulliana launch.png
  59. Violet astronomy/Quiz Tulliana launch.png
  60. Visual astronomy/Quiz SYawning.svg
  61. X-ray astronomy/Quiz Emblem-extra-cool.svgC
  62. X-ray classification of stars/Quiz SYawning.svg
  63. X-ray trigonometric parallax/Quiz Tulliana launch.png
  64. Yellow astronomy/Quiz Face-blush.svg


  1. Hourly - Lectures 1-16 Emblem-extra-cool.svgC
  2. Hourly - Lectures 17-32 Emblem-extra-cool.svgC
  3. Hourly - Lectures 33-48 Emblem-extra-cool.svgC

Midterm examination[edit]

Final examination[edit]

Alternate examinations that may be used by your college or university for credit (and a grade) in this course will be available from Wikiversity by courier for closed proctored session testing of proficiency.


While this course may be taken in any order by each student, it may also be taken during a specific calendar period comparable to a university semester such as from January through May or August through December.

Consult the syllabus for the weekly schedule.

Ongoing semester offering:[edit]

First full week in January 2015 through May 2015. Principles of radiation astronomy/Syllabus/Spring

Next semester offering:[edit]

First full week in August 2015 through December 2015. Principles of radiation astronomy/Syllabus/Fall


Each full week one lecture on each Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Three lectures in the order indicated in the template Principles of radiation astronomy at the page bottom.


One laboratory opportunity is to be attempted for each of the sixteen weeks and is due at the beginning of the following week.

Each laboratory opportunity is to be started on Tuesday with the lab report due the following Tuesday.


The lessons are once a week beginning on Thursday and the report is due the following Thursday. Contributions to the online lesson are voluntary. Student does so being aware that the information once contributed is as "Text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License; additional terms may apply." Note online contributions in lesson report.

Problem sets[edit]

Problem sets are to be started on Thursday with the written answers showing work due the following Thursday.

Quiz sections[edit]

Each Tuesday has a quiz section mini-lecture.

In the Thursday quiz section, the quiz for the mini-lecture is to be taken.

Problem sets and lesson contributions are due at the beginning of the Thursday quiz section.

See also[edit]

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]