Department of Astronomy

"Astronomy shows us how small is man's body, how great his mind, which can embrace the whole of this dazzling immensity"           -Henri Poincar


1.  About the Department

Department of Astronomy is the only department in India which offers Astronomy & Astrophysics courses at  masterís  level  and  it  is  the  only  university department  with  an  observatory  with  a 1.2  m telescope. The department offers a two year M.Sc. course  in  Astronomy,  an  interdisciplinary  M.Sc. programme  in  Astrophysics  in  collaboration  with Physics department and a Ph. D. programme. The  history  of  the  Astronomy  Department  at Osmania University takes back to the early part of 20th  Century  and  had  its  roots  from  the establishment  of  Nizamiah  Observatory  at Begumpet  in 1908  with  the  installation  of  two telescopes, one 8-inch Cooke Astrograph or Astro- camera and an 15-inch Grubb Refractor. Based on the academic contributions of Nizamiah Observatory and its International recognition, O.U. created the Department of Astronomy in  1959. Astronomy at post-graduate level was introduced in 1960 -61. The Department  was  recognized  as  the  Centre  of Advanced Study in Astronomy (CASA) by the UGC during 1964-79.  The  department,  till  date,  has produced more than 400 M.Sc students, 20 M.Phil.   degrees  and  40  Ph.Dís.  A  good  fraction of  the students (~45%) choose career options in astronomy in India and abroad, while the others teach physics and computer sciences in colleges.

The telescope at Rangapur has been used for photoelectric observations of binary stars, peculiar stars, pulsating stars, star clusters and also for the spectroscopic study of binary stars and peculiar stars.  The telescope is also used for obtaining scientific information on comets, planetary atmospheres and near Earth Asteroids.  The department obtained two 12-inch telescopes from the UGC-SAP funds.  These telescopes are being used by the students for their practicals and in their research projects.  In addition, a 10 feet radio telescope operating at 10GHZ was installed at Japal-Rangapur Observatory in  1980 for conducting research on the Sun.  Also a 100-W c.w. meteor radar operating at a frequency of 50 MHz was installed in 1982 to study meteor echoes from various meteor showers over Hyderabad.  Research on satellite radio beacon studies of ionosphere over Hyderabad using transmissions from Radio beacon satellites initiated to study electron density variations and scintillations etc.

The department regularly organizes workshops and seminars with financial assistance from DST,ISRO,UGC,IUCAA etc. The academic staff concentrates on research in observational astronomy of binary stars, peculiar stars, pulsating stars, galacticclusters and ionospheric research, study on problems related to colliding and interacting galaxies using analytical methods and N-body sumulations.  Studies of comets, meteor showers, eclipses etc. are regularly undertaken whenever such events occur.

Collaborative Programmes

The academic staff have collaborative research programs with other leading scientific organization like Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR), Mumbai; Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics (IUCAA) and National MST Radar Facility at Tirupati.  The modernization of the 48-inch reflector through the computer controlled operations has been undertaken and the work is in progress.  With this refurbished telescope the department will enter into a new era of astronomical research.

Recent Publications
  • P. Vivekananda Rao & P. Radhika, 2002, Long-Term Study of the Starspot Activity on the Eclipsing Short-Period Rs Canum Venaticorum Star UV Piscium, AP & SS, 282, 103.
  • P. Vivekananda Rao & P.Radhika, 2003, UV Piscium and the Radiative Flux Scale, Ap&SS, 283,221.
  • P. Vivekananda Rao &  Jayant K. Pendhakar, 2005, Evolutionary Status of UV Piscium and its comparison with other members of the RS CVn group, Ap & SS (in press).
  • J. Rukmini, P. Vivekananda Rao & K. Sriram.  2005, Photometric Study of W UMa type binary in the old cluster NGC 6791, 2005, Ap&SS (in press).
On-going Research Projects
  • UGC-SAP Phase 2004-07 sponsored by UGC, New Delhi.
  • DST-FIST programme sponsored by the DST, New Delhi.
  • Indo-French project in collaboration with IUCAA, Pune and IAP, Paris.
  • Study of Meteor echoes and related ionospheric problems by using MST Radar, funded by DST.


2. Faculty Details
Sl. No Name Designation Filed of Specialization
1. Dr. P. Vivekananda Rao Professor Binary Stars
2. Dr. G. Yellaiah Proessor Radio Astronomy
3. Dr. S.N. Hasan Asso. Prof. & Head Celestial Mechanics, Galactic Dynamics
4. Dr. Shanti Priya Assistant Professor & Chairperson,BoS

Observational Astronomy and

Galaxy interactions


3.  Academic Programs
Courses offered Course period Approved Intake
1. M.Sc. Astronomy 2 years (16)
2. M.Sc. Astrophysics 2 years (16)
3. Ph.D. Astronomy 3 years ---


4.  Facilities Available

Laboratories - An electronic laboratory to conduct classes for M.Sc. students.

Computer Facilities

The Centre is well equipped with modern computer facilities  like Sun Work Station (SS5,SS20), several PC's and internet facility.  The computers are installed with latest astronomical software and statistical packages.

Observational Facilities: 
  1. A 48-inch reflector telescope at Japal - Rangapur Observatory with the following backend scientific instruments:
  • CCD Camera 512 x 512 and 1024 x 1024 with Sun Work Station SS20
  • Two channel photometer
  • Meinel spectrograph
  • Scanning spectrometer and 
  • Photon counting system

  2.    An 8-inch Astrograph with facilities for Astronomical photography.

  3.    Two 12-inch reflector telescopes and one CCD camera.

  4.    Radio Telescope.. 


The Centre has a well equipped library with about 7500 text books on Astronomy and Astrophysics and related subjects.  There are about 30,000 research reprints obtained on gratis.  The library also subscribes to leading astronomical journals like Astrophysical Journal, Astronomical Journal, European Journal of Astronomy and Astrophysics.  Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Sky & Telescope , Indian Journal of Radio & Space Physics (IJRSP) etc.
Student's participation in Summer Schools
Motivated student at the end of their first year M. Sc. programme will have an opportunity to participate in Summer Schools organized by leading astronomical institutes like IUCAA, Pune; IIA, Bangalore; PRL, Ahmedabad.
Public Outreach Programmes
The Observatory conducts regular sky-shows and popular lectures on astronomy at Japal-Rangapur Observatory for the benefit of the school & colleges students and for the general public.
5.  Major Research Contributions of the Department & the Observatory

The observatory participated in the International Program called Carte-Du-Ciel or astrographic sky survey. The aim of the program was to map the whole sky photographically by assigning various  Celestial  Zones  to 18  different observatories  around  the  world.  The  zone covering declination from 17 to 23 degrees South and 36 to 39 degrees North was assigned to Nizamiah Observatory. Positions of 4,63,542 stars were measured and published in 12 volumes of Astrographic Catalogue by Nizamiah Observatory. These measurements   are being used by the astronomers all over the world to estimate the proper motion of various types of stars. The observatory actively participation in the photographic and radio observations of the Total Solar Eclipse of February 16, 1980. It has also participated in the International Halley Watch programme by making photographic, photoelectric observations of Comet Halley for determining its orbit and production rates of the various molecules.

6.  Employment Opportunities
  • Posts of lecturers in Physics in Junior, Degree and Polytechnic Colleges.

  • Research positions at different Astronomical Institutions and Observatories in the country, viz., Indian Institute of Astrophysics (IIA), Bangalore, ARIES,  State Observatory (SO), Nainital; Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR), Mumbai; Physical Research Laboratory (PRL), Ahmedabad; National Physical Laboratory (NPL), New Delhi; Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), Bangalore; planetaria and overseas pre- and post-doctoral research positions.

7.  Future Plans / Activities
To provide better opportunities to the students in observational and theoretical astronomy we plan to give them intensive training in computer based observational techniques, data analysis and image processing using latest astronomical software packages.
Supporting Staff
Md. Tameezuddin                                Book Keeper
Rajender Singh                                Electronic. Tech-I
M. Sidda Reddy Electronic. Tech-I
C. Ramdas Electrician-II
S. Mallesham Electrician-II
V. Rajeshwar Rao Sr. Asst
A. R. Nagaraj S.K.III
Dharam Prakash Tech-III

P. Laxmi

Lab Attender    

Kamal Khan                              


M. Satyanarayana Watchman
K. Srinivas Watchman
B. Ramesh Watchman
Smt. Prameela Malan
Md. Tajuddin Mali
Bhore Shyam Scavenger
J. Shankar Ele. Tech-I
E. Mysaiah Tele. Att
M. Pullachary Tele. Att
K. Malla Reddy Cook
P. Deval Reddy Off. Att
V. Paramesha Mali