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. Absorptions
  2. Active galactic nuclei
  3. Airborne astronomy SYawning.svg
  4. Analytical astronomy Tulliana launch.png
  5. Ariel Smiley green alien cry.svg
  6. Astrogeology Tulliana launch.png
  7. Astroglaciology Emblem-extra-cool.svgC
  8. Astrognosy SYawning.svg
  9. Astrohistory Emblem-extra-cool.svgR
  10. Background astronomy Emblem-extra-cool.svgC
  11. Balloons for astronomy SYawning.svg
  12. Bands
  13. Baryons
  14. Beta-particles astronomy Smiley green alien cry.svg
  15. Callisto Face-blush.svg
  16. Ceres Tulliana launch.png
  17. Classical planets Emblem-extra-cool.svgC
  18. Colors
  19. Comets Tulliana launch.png
  20. Continuum
  21. Early telescopes Nuvola apps kcontrol.gif
  22. Earth SYawning.svg
  23. Earth-orbit astronomy Face-blush.svg
  24. Emissions
  25. Empirical astronomy Smiley green alien cry.svg
  26. Empirical radiation astronomy SYawning.svg
  27. Entity astronomy SYawning.svg
  28. Europa Nuvola apps kcontrol.gif
  29. Exploratory astronomy Tulliana launch.png
  30. Galactic evolution
  31. Ganymede Face-blush.svg
  32. Gaseous-object astronomy Face-blush.svg
  33. Gaseous-object astronomy/Jupiter Smiley green alien cry.svg
  34. Gaseous-object astronomy/Neptune Smiley green alien cry.svg
  35. Gaseous-object astronomy/Saturn Smiley green alien cry.svg
  36. Gaseous-object astronomy/Sun Smiley green alien cry.svg
  37. Gaseous-object astronomy/Uranus Smiley green alien cry.svg
  38. Hadrons
  39. Heliocentric astronomy Tulliana launch.png
  40. Heliognosy Face-blush.svg
  41. Heliogony Tulliana launch.png
  42. Heliography Face-blush.svg
  43. Heliology Tulliana launch.png
  44. Heliometry SYawning.svg
  45. Heliophysics SYawning.svg
  46. Helioseismology Smiley green alien cry.svg
  47. Heliosphere Tulliana launch.png
  48. Intensity astronomy Smiley green alien cry.svg
  49. Io SYawning.svg
  50. Jupiter Sweden road sign A10.svg
  51. Kuiper belts Smiley green alien cry.svg
  52. Liquid-object astronomy Tulliana launch.png
  53. Liquid-object astronomy/Earth Face-blush.svg
  54. Liquid-object astronomy/Saturn Smiley green alien cry.svg
  55. Magnetohydrodynamics Emblem-extra-cool.svgR
  56. Mars SYawning.svg
  57. Mercury Nuvola apps kcontrol.gif
  58. Meson astronomy SYawning.svg
  59. Meteoroids
  60. Microwave astronomy Sweden road sign A10.svg
  61. Milky Way Face-blush.svg
  62. Mineral astronomy Tulliana launch.png
  63. Mineralogy Smiley green alien cry.svg
  64. Minerals Sweden road sign A10.svg
  65. Miranda Smiley green alien cry.svg
  66. Moon Emblem-extra-cool.svgR
  67. Nebulas
  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. Planetary astronomy Nuvola apps kcontrol.gif
  75. Planets Emblem-extra-cool.svgC
  76. Planets around other stars Smiley green alien cry.svg
  77. Plasma-object astronomy SYawning.svg
  78. Pluto Smiley green alien cry.svg
  79. Radar astronomy Nuvola apps kcontrol.gif
  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. Spectroscopy
  96. Spectrometers
  97. Standard-candles astronomy Tulliana launch.png
  98. Standard solar models Tulliana launch.png
  99. Stars Smiley green alien cry.svg
  100. Stellar astronomy Face-blush.svg
  101. Stellar evolution Smiley green alien cry.svg
  102. Subatomics astronomy
  103. Sun Emblem-extra-cool.svgC
  104. Sun-synchronous astronomy Smiley green alien cry.svg
  105. Synchrotrons
  106. Tauons
  107. Titan Nuvola apps kcontrol.gif
  108. Titania Smiley green alien cry.svg
  109. Trigonometric-parallax astronomy Smiley green alien cry.svg
  110. Triton Smiley green alien cry.svg
  111. Uranus Emblem-extra-cool.svgR
  112. Venus Face-blush.svg
  113. Vesta Face-blush.svg
  114. 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. Blue astronomy/Quiz
  5. Coronal cloud/Quiz
  6. Cosmogony/Quiz
  7. Cosmic-ray astronomy/Quiz
  8. Crater astronomy/Quiz
  9. Cyan astronomy/Quiz
  10. Electron astronomy/Quiz
  11. First astronomical source/Quiz
  12. First astronomical X-ray source/Quiz
  13. Galaxies/Quiz
  14. Gamma-ray astronomy/Quiz
  15. Green astronomy/Quiz
  16. Infrared astronomy/Quiz
  17. Intergalactic medium/Quiz
  18. Interplanetary medium/Quiz
  19. Interstellar medium/Quiz
  20. Lofting technology/Quiz
  21. Mathematical astronomy/Quiz
  22. Meteor astronomy/Quiz
  23. Meteorites/Quiz
  24. Muon astronomy/Quiz
  25. Neutrino astronomy/Quiz
  26. Neutron astronomy/Quiz
  27. Optical astronomy/Quiz
  28. Orange astronomy/Quiz
  29. Planetary science/Quiz
  30. Positron astronomy/Quiz
  31. Proton astronomy/Quiz
  32. Radiation/Quiz
  33. Radiation astronomy/Quiz
  34. Radiation chemistry/Quiz
  35. Radiation detectors/Quiz
  36. Radiation entities/Quiz
  37. Radiation geography/Quiz
  38. Radiation history/Quiz
  39. Radiation mathematics/Quiz
  40. Radiation satellites/Quiz
  41. Radiation telescopes/Quiz
  42. Radiative dynamo/Quiz
  43. Radio astronomy/Quiz
  44. Red astronomy/Quiz
  45. Solar binary/Quiz
  46. Source astronomy/Quiz
  47. Standard candles/Quiz
  48. Star fission/Quiz
  49. Star-forming region/Quiz
  50. Stellar active region/Quiz
  51. Stellar science/Quiz
  52. Stellar surface fusion/Quiz
  53. Submillimeter astronomy/Quiz
  54. Sun as an X-ray source/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 classification of stars/Quiz
  63. X-ray trigonometric parallax/Quiz
  64. 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 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.



  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]

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. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

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