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.

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

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. If your actions have been used for research purposes, this little icon may appear on your user talk page.


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


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

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


  1. Hourly - Lectures 1-16
  2. Hourly - Lectures 17-32
  3. Hourly - Lectures 33-48

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 2016 through May 2016. Principles of radiation astronomy/Syllabus/Spring

Next semester offering:[edit]

Second full week in August 2016 through December 2016. 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.



  1. Several courses could be offered dealing with radiation astronomy.
  2. A dynamic-only course could be offered dealing with specific radiation astronomies or potential radiation astronomies.

Control groups[edit]

This is an image of a Lewis rat. Credit: Charles River Laboratories.

The findings demonstrate a statistically systematic change from the status quo or the control group.

“In the design of experiments, treatments [or special properties or characteristics] are applied to [or observed in] experimental units in the treatment group(s).[1] In comparative experiments, members of the complementary group, the control group, receive either no treatment or a standard treatment.[2]"[3]

Proof of concept[edit]

Def. a “short and/or incomplete realization of a certain method or idea to demonstrate its feasibility"[4] is called a proof of concept.

Def. evidence that demonstrates that a concept is possible is called proof of concept.

The proof-of-concept structure consists of

  1. background,
  2. procedures,
  3. findings, and
  4. interpretation.[5]

Student participation[edit]

The top 100 learning projects for 2015 (through October), includes all pages and subpages, concerning the course are

  1. 29. 39138 - Radiation astronomy, with 106 subpages.
  2. 49. 27083 - Astronomy, with 40 subpages.

The ranking of astronomy resources in this course during 2015 of the top 1000 in number of hits here at Wikiversity are

  1. 218. 7830 - Astronomy/Mathematics or Mathematical astronomy
  2. 403. 4431 - Principles of Radiation Astronomy
  3. 434. 4118 - Astronomy
  4. 518. 3515 - Mathematical astronomy
  5. 583. 3135 - Radiation astronomy
  6. 652. 2823 - Classical planets
  7. 709. 2475 - Observational astronomy
  8. 736. 2301 - Radiation astronomy/Detectors or Radiation detectors
  9. 738. 2279 - Intergalactic medium
  10. 739. 2272 - Radiation detectors
  11. 753. 2180 - Radiation astronomy/Courses/Principles/Syllabus/Spring
  12. 794. 1991 - Proton astronomy
  13. 878. 1635 - Planetary science
  14. 947. 1385 - Astrophysics
  15. 965. 1336 - Stellar science
  16. 971. 1314 - Radiation astronomy/Courses/Principles/Syllabus/Fall
  17. 993. 1236 - Classical planets/Quiz

Those astronomy resources not specifically a part of the course are

  1. 267. 6303 - Skygazing
  2. 322. 5382 - School:Physics and Astronomy
  3. 908. 1542 - Natural electric field of the Earth
  4. 950. 1372 - Planets
  5. 985. 1264 - Planets/Quiz
  6. 987. 1262 - Saturn
  7. 995. 1236 - Planets around other stars
  8. 998. 1233 - Category:Introduction to the Planets
  9. 999. 1233 - Introduction to the Planets

For 2014 a maximum number of 5215[6] hit the keynote lecture Radiation astronomy.

The top 100 learning projects for 2014, includes all pages and subpages, concerning the course were none.

The ranking of astronomy resources in this course, or often mentioned, of the top 1000 here at Wikiversity are

  1. 144. 9999 - Mathematical astronomy
  2. 226. 7135 - Stellar science
  3. 231. 7043 - Principles of radiation astronomy
  4. 234. 7025 - Radiation detectors
  5. 275. 6254 - Gamma-ray astronomy
  6. 353. 5215 - Radiation astronomy
  7. 401. 4623 - Astronomy
  8. 484. 4027 - Observational astronomy
  9. 506. 3863 - Meteorites
  10. 567. 3505 - Cosmic-ray astronomy
  11. 595. 3406 - Blue astronomy
  12. 604. 3367 - Neutrino astronomy
  13. 612. 3349 - Galaxies
  14. 642. 3259 - Electron astronomy
  15. 667. 3146 - Regional astronomy
  16. 680. 3092 - X-ray astronomy
  17. 694. 3050 - Proton astronomy
  18. 699. 3029 - Ultraviolet astronomy
  19. 715. 2978 - Optical astronomy
  20. 726. 2931 - Neutron astronomy
  21. 734. 2899 - Template talk:Astronomy resources
  22. 738. 2882 - Violet astronomy
  23. 769. 2801 - Source astronomy
  24. 810. 2695 - Positron astronomy
  25. 873. 2549 - Crater astronomy
  26. 883. 2531 - Visual astronomy
  27. 895. 2511 - Interstellar medium
  28. 897. 2511 - Theoretical astronomy
  29. 921. 2436 - Interplanetary medium
  30. 943. 2379 - Lofting technology
  31. 951. 2369 - Radiation telescopes
  32. 968. 2323 - Astrophysics
  33. 983. 2305 - Intergalactic medium
  34. 984. 2304 - Principles of Radiation Astronomy/Syllabus
  35. 994. 2280 - Radiation geography

Those astronomy resources not specifically a part of the course are

  1. 302. 5933 - School:Physics and Astronomy
  2. 533. 3700 - Skygazing
  3. 734. 2899 - Template talk:Astronomy resources
  4. 814. 2683 - Astronomy Project
  5. 835. 2638 - Moon
  6. 963. 2338 - Portal:Physics and Astronomy

See also[edit]


  1. Klaus Hinkelmann, Oscar Kempthorne (2008). Design and Analysis of Experiments, Volume I: Introduction to Experimental Design (2nd ed.). Wiley. ISBN 978-0-471-72756-9. http://books.google.com/?id=T3wWj2kVYZgC&printsec=frontcover. 
  2. R. A. Bailey (2008). Design of comparative experiments. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-68357-9. http://www.cambridge.org/uk/catalogue/catalogue.asp?isbn=9780521683579. 
  3. "Treatment and control groups, In: Wikipedia". San Francisco, California: Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. May 18, 2012. Retrieved 2012-05-31. 
  4. "proof of concept, In: Wiktionary". San Francisco, California: Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. November 10, 2012. Retrieved 2013-01-13. 
  5. Ginger Lehrman and Ian B Hogue, Sarah Palmer, Cheryl Jennings, Celsa A Spina, Ann Wiegand, Alan L Landay, Robert W Coombs, Douglas D Richman, John W Mellors, John M Coffin, Ronald J Bosch, David M Margolis (August 13, 2005). "Depletion of latent HIV-1 infection in vivo: a proof-of-concept study". Lancet 366 (9485): 549-55. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(05)67098-5. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1894952/. Retrieved 2012-05-09. 
  6. Dave Braunschweig (January 5, 2015). "Wikiversity:Statistics/2014, In: Wikiversity". San Francisco, California: Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. Retrieved 2016-01-27. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

Crystal Clear Sharemanager.png Resource type: this resource is a course.
Nuvola apps kmoon.png Subject classification: this is an astronomy resource.