Astronomy & Astrophysics Division


Chairman : Prof. Abhijit Chakraborty

The Research in the Astronomy and Astrophysics Division involves investigations in the optical, infrared, X-ray and the radio wavelength bands to understand some of the outstanding problems related to galactic and extragalactic cosmic phenomena, such as star formation, stellar evolution, interstellar medium, binary stars, pulsars, active galactic nuclei and giant radio galaxies. Solar activity and its impact on space weather are also being studied using radio techniques.
Research Programmes 
The research activities in Optical and Infrared Astronomy optimally blend the capability of a moderately sized telescope (1.2m) with state-of-the-art instruments.

Some of the key research areas of the division include,

  • Infrared photometric and spectroscopic studies on Novae and Nova-like Stellar Phenomena,
  • Infrared photometric imaging studies of Massive Star Forming Regions in our galaxy for investigating the star formation processes,
  • Monitoring of short time (hour-day) variability of Active Galactic Nuclei.
  • High angular resolution studies (in the infrared bands) of the atmospheres of Cool Giant Stars to resolve the structure of Dust Shells,
  • Spatio-kinematic studies of Planetary Nebulae of different morphologies
  • Detection of   extrasolar planetary systems. 
  • Numerical modelling of Solar wind Turbulence, Space weather and coronal heating.
  • Studies of extremely low density, low velocity, non-radial solar wind outflows known as solar wind disappearance events 
  • Investigation of high-z Quasars and Giant Radio Galaxies 
  • Timing and spectral studies of accretion powered X-ray binary pulsars
  • Understanding the emission mechanisms in stellar mass black holes
  • Atmospheres modelling of very low mass stars, brown dwarfs and extrasolar planets
  • Multiwavelength studies of Galactic and extra-galactic compact sources and Design and fabrication of related instrumentation

The Division operates the Mt. Abu Observatory with the 1.2m Infrared Telescope having the back-end instruments, NICMOS and NICS Infrared Camera and Spectrograph, Imaging Fabry-Perot Spectrometer, Optical Polarimeter and PARAS Echelle spectrograph. The data from the observatory has resulted in several Ph D theses and a large number of research publications in refereed journals.


Occasionally, collaborative observations are being made using larger telescopes at national and international observatories at Hanle, Hawaii, La Palma, South Africa and Chile. Telescopes in space like Spitzer IR telescope are also used for observations. The Radio Astronomy programmes utilize the national facility Giant Metre Wave Radio Telescope and Ooty Radio Telescope of TIFR. A new high resolution optical spectrometer is being built for detecting extrasolar planets by the radial velocity technique.


Observation schedule of PRL's Mount Abu 1.2 m telescope can be accessed here.

Solar X-ray Monitor (XSM)

The Solar X-ray Monitor (XSM) onboard Chandrayaan2 is an X-ray spectrometer. Its unprecedented sensitivity and spectral resolution make it one of the best X-ray spectrometers observing the Sun. So far, it has produced exciting results about the quiet X-ray Sun and its elemental abundances. It has also observed several sub-A class flares. Elemental abundance study of multiple B class flares also reveals how abundances of certain elements evolve during these flares. 
Ph.D. Courses Offered

Astronomy & Astrophysics
Radio Astronomy
Solar Physics and Space Weather
Astronomical Instrumentation and Data Processing Techniques