Category Archives: Astronomers Past & Present

Free Lecture 02: Universe Scale, and Light 1

A lecture to study the nerdy part of the Big Universe. Do you think it’s a good way to kick-start your Sunday morning? It’s what I did. It was a mind-blowing experience. But what intrigues me is:  Why is this Universe so big?

Lecture 02: Universe Scale, and Light

The lecture video is embedded below but also available here in MP4 format.
Additionally, slides used in the lecture are embedded below but also are available here in Powerpoint format.
Questions after the lecture? Please ask them in here.

Wikipedia entries:
Earth’s atmosphere
Black body
Wein’s Law
Stefan Boltzmann Law

What Interested ME in this lecture.

Web sites
Secret Worlds: The Universe Within
Atlas of the Universe
Alpha Centauri is a system.
proxima Centauri is part of  this system.
Black Body Radiation
The hotter you are the more you radiate light. This is why we say “she’s Hot”.
Humans emit light. On the higher stratas of humanity, if you’re spiritually high you shine or radiate.
Human beings emit infra-red light. That is the reason in infrared light, people glow.
Black Body Spectra
Blue is hot than red.
White is hot than blue.
I believe Black is hotter than white. though we can’t see black light. Is Dark Matter black light. Has this been proved scientifically?
Open Cluster
I appreciated the saying Open stars are like Jewel Box
Last slide
We’ll be ending early today. WAeee!!!
Revisiting Albireo. Albireo was mentioned in Turn Left to Orion.

Astronomy Lectures for FREE

Astronomy has been lately like a drug on me. So I have decided that I should study it (though at my own pace) but study it seriously. So I was looking up for astronomy lectures and I stumbled upon this MichiganTech University lectures on astronomy for first year freshers completely free of charge. Astronomy is considered as an expensive hobby per se…..but much to my astonishment much of astronomy stuff  could be acquired on the web for completely FREE.

So I am enrolling myself for this study and perhaps sit for an exam too later….I can’t say about that. But I think giving some of my time to learning something fascinating is worthwhile.

And though there are calculations and stuff requiring mental exercise and quite of reading yet I am jumping on this. By the way anyone interested to join the bandwagon, just hop on.

So, just to give a quick intro of what’s it’s all about.


“Posted in this forum are the lectures of a free introductory astronomy course as taught by me, APOD co-editor and university professor Robert Nemiroff, at Michigan Technological University in the fall of 2008. Each lecture of the class is included here, one lecture per thread. Each lecture thread should contain at least one video lecture and one Powerpoint file containing the slides that I used. I was proud that I used no textbook for this class but instead relied on strong Wikipedia articles. This made the class especially Internet friendly and particularly conducive to this type of online forum. Many students saw these exact lectures in Fall 2008, took online quizzes not available here, and received college credit at Michigan Tech.

General astronomy questions, no matter how basic, can be asked in the greater Asterisk forums. Please do not send email to the address shown in the video. Unfortunately, I expect to move on to other projects and would like this project to run autonomously. I therefore ask that if someone knows the answer to an asked question, please go right ahead and answer that question. Please do not wait for me to answer. On occasion, however, I do peruse The Asterisk’s forums.

Next, I expect that I have made several mistakes. I cannot correct the video, but please do point these out in The Asterisk forums so that future online students get the best information possible. Past that, the general rules for posting on The Asterisk bulletin board still apply as much as reasonably possible. These rules can be summed up as “be polite.”

Over the first few months of 2010, this thread and this very post may be edited without notice for clarity and technology upgrades. If you yourself have suggestions as to how to make this free online course better or more accessible, please post that on the general discussion (Open Space) forum of The Asterisk.

– Robert Nemiroff (RJN)”

( So for any further questions or queries just throw yourself to the forum, not me either) Yeah but we can discuss.


  • The lectures are being given by Robert Nemiroff
  • Lectures are all completely free.
  • You aren’t required to buy books. Reference material would be from Wikipedia.
  • Lecture notes are not transcribed.
  • Lectures are online.
  • Lectures are accompanied by a power point slide.
  • There’s a catch: Apod (Astronomy Pictures of the day would be used to explain the mysteries of the universe.  They start from September 1rst 2008.


  • There are few mistakes which can be overlooked.
  • If you want to sit for an exam you have to pay MichiganTecH. I don’t know. It doesn’t bother me now.
  • Lecture notes are not transcribed.

So here we start

I hope I am not infringing any rights by posting this lecture here. I really didn’t get in contact with the lecturer. Nevertheless I would like to thank him for this stuff.

Lecture 01: A Grand Tour of the Universe

The lecture video is embedded below but also available here in MP4 format.
Additionally, slides used in the lecture are embedded below but also are available here in Powerpoint format.
Questions after the lecture? Please ask them in here.

The Lecture.

Wikipedia entries:

Electromagnetic spectrum
Light year

Sky Gazers : A Timelapse Tribute

The night sky is perhaps the most enchanting love one can ever find.

The evening twilight gently fades in to darkness. Clouds begin to scatter away and I’m under an ocean of twinkling stars. Another night of pure enjoyment and cosmic adventures. The night sky is perhaps the most enchanting love one can ever find!

This timelapse production is a tribute to all skygazers around the world who enjoy exploring the night sky with their telescopes. I’m happy to release this in April 2012 in celebration of the Global Astronomy Month (, an international program of Astronomers Without Borders in partnership with world-wide astronomy centers and clubs.

I (Babak A. Tafreshi) made the footage and images between 2007 and 2011 in various locations in Iran, La Palma (Canary Islands), Austria, Germany, and Nepal. Some of the sequences are made during star parties, and observing competitions such as Messier Marathon where a large group of amateur astronomers observe the night sky together.

All rights reserved by Babak Tafreshi ( of The World at Night (TWAN) program.

Carl Sagan : A Wordle Tribute

“The surface of the Earth is the shore of the cosmic ocean. On this shore, we’ve learned most of what we know. Recently, we’ve waded a little way out, maybe ankle-deep, and the water seems inviting. Some part of our being knows this is where we came from. We long to return, and we can, because the cosmos is also within us. We’re made of star stuff. We are a way for the cosmos to know itself.”

Carl Sagan, Cosmos, 1980

Wordle is a toy for generating “word clouds” from text that you provide. The clouds give greater prominence to words that appear more frequently in the source text.  Be Creative.

How I got this idea? Read blogs here and here. Thanks to both of you.

If you make one. Give me your shoot in the comments below.

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