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Programs PhD in observational astrophysics

  1. Jul 11, 2012 #1
    I have got an offer to do PhD in observational astrophysics.Now I have not studied astrophysics before so as far as I can make out a Phd in that consist of following four parts: theory, observation, computation and instrumentation. I want to know what fraction of time one has to spend in each of these parts in general.
    Also what are the interesting areas of research that are currently being pursued in this field?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 11, 2012 #2


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    Where is this program? What country? In the US, a PhD in astrophysics can certainly include observation components, but that would pretty much just mean that you have a lot of data you got from a telescope or satellite and you're analyzing it. It doesn't mean you have to learn anything at all about instrumentation (except for a few basics if you're gathering the data yourself) or do any theory or computational work if the project doesn't involve it. Most astrophysicists do a bit of theory/computation along with the observational work to try to explain it, but that's not always necessary.

    If you can think about something in the universe, someone is working on it. Chances are good many someones are working on it. And it's all potentially very interesting. You can't do just anything; you'll be working with an adviser, and it's a good idea to pick a field they're working in.
  4. Jul 11, 2012 #3
    Sorry, forgot to mention that Iam from India and the program is at an Indian research institute.
    As far as I know different observatories use different telescopes to gather astrophysical data , doesn't that imply that one has to know few things about instrumentation itself like the kind of telescope one is working with, its components, functioning etc.
    Isn't this always necessary to analyse and verify that the data one has gathered is in accordance( or against) some accepted theoretical model of the object about which the data is obtained?
    The broad areas of research that my brochure mentions include steller cluster and formation, intersteller medium, x-ray and intergalactic astronomy, sun and the solar system.I would like to know which of these areas is more related to theory i.e. observations can be directly used to approve or disaprove some theoretical model.
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