Category General

Bengaluru: The Astronomy City

As part of the National Science day celebrations, the Indian Institute of Astrophysics organised a panel discussion titled- Bengaluru The Astronomy City. The focus of the meeting was to educate the young students regarding various opportunities in astronomy and astrophysics...


A list of scholarships for women in Science

A significant fraction of the advances in science and technology arises due to seminal contributions by women - all the while tackling a series of battles against social norms and skewed opportunities. Even today, there exists a lack of representation...


Mendeley Reference Manager

Being involved in research means dealing with a lot of papers on a day to day basis. Be it reading them, organizing them, or referencing them we often face a perilous task. A collection of scores of pdf documents scattered...


Voices of the Women in Science - A list of books on women scientists

Progress is possible only when everyone capable of contributing is given an equal chance irrespective of gender, community and nationality. While there is a long way to go before this gap is fulfilled, it should be noted that we as...


Measuring the ages of the Earth and Moon

A popular article exploring how the ages of the Earth and Moon were measured.


Using GitHub for Academic Research

GitHub has become the go-to tool for software engineers across the world to keep their codes together and collaborate with each other. Being easy, seamless, and available on all the platforms makes it a brilliant choice indeed.


Measuring the age of the Universe: An overview

A popular article exploring how the age of the Universe was calculated.


The scientific legacy of Thanu Padmanabhan

Prof. Thanu Padmanabhan, one of the stalwarts of theoretical physics, and a shining star of the Indian scientific community, left his mortal abode on the 17th of September this year. With a stellar career spanning over four decades, he has...


What is CosmicVarta?

CosmicVarta is a team effort where we all come together to discuss astronomy and related tools and ideas. Come join us on this journey!


Category Solar and Stellar Astrophysics

How much Metal does the Quiet Sun Corona contain?

XSM onboard Chandrayaan-2 observed the Sun during the deepest solar minimum of the past century from in 2019-2020. By studying the XSM spectra for the days when the Sun was very quiet, researchers have found that the abundances of all...


Identifying emission-line stars from a large spectroscopic database

We present a catalog of 3339 hot emission-line stars (ELS) identified from 451,695 O, B, and A type spectra, provided by the LAMOST DR5 release. We developed an automated python routine that identified 5437 spectra having a peak between 6561...


Understanding the solar chromosphere through spectral lines

This article takes the reader through a journey of inferring the cosmos - specifically our dear neighbour Sun - through various properties of light. The journey meanders through our work on understanding solar chromospheric properties through spectral lines, and seems...


Classical Ae stars: What are they? Why study them?

Starting from the history of star classification in the millinniums, this interesting note will take you through some of the very basic concepts on emission-line stars. You will be able to understand what they are and why these type of...


Using machine learning to infer Solar coronal heating

This article traces the origins of the coronal heating problem, and describes in vivid detail our efforts in resolving this through machine learning. This is a non-technical article based on our paper, but references have been appended for the interested...


Deciphering The Mysteries of The Quiet Sun Explosions

XSM onboard Chandrayaan 2 observed the Sun during its minimum activity period in 2019-2020. Using this data, the researchers have for the first time detected a very large number of small scale explosions, called microflares, happening on the Sun. The...


Most Extreme Stars

A general article exploring some of the most extreme stars of the universe. Each one of them deserves the word ‘most’ for varied reasons. Just read and enjoy the mysterious cosmos sitting at home.


Identification of a new category of stars: stars in rare transition phase found

Pre-main-sequence (PMS) stars evolve into the main-sequence (MS) phase over a period of time. Interestingly, we found a scarcity of studies in the existing literature that examine and attempt to better understand the stars in the PMS to MS transition...


The First Theoretical Model of the Near-Surface Shear Layer of the Sun

It is well known that the Sun rotates differentially, i.e. its equator rotates faster than the pole. Not only at the surface, but the solar rotation profile also varies with the radius, which was discovered in helioseismic observation. This observation...


Twinkle twinkle little stars, should I wonder what you are? A brief account of variable stars

Curiosity is what has driven mankind to observations of new phenomena. Every twinkling star in the night sky is definitely not due to the atmospheric refraction of earth. Rather, one might be looking at a variable star, each with a...


From Sun to Earth using Artificial Intelligence

The focus of this article is solar wind. I first take the reader through the theory & observations, and various properties of solar wind. Then, I take a detour through machine and deep learning which form the basis of our...


Category Earth and Planetary Astrophysics

Polarization of the light reflected from exoplanets: A new window into the study of exoplanets

Polarization is an emerging technique in the field of exoplanets. Understanding the basic physics behind the polarization of the light observed from the planets can help us study them in detail. One such aspect is to study the polarization of...


Category Instrumentation and Methods for Astrophysics

Magnetic Field Measurements of the Solar Corona by Aditya L1

One of the science goals of the Aditya L1 is to map the coronal magnetic field topology. The infrared channel of the VELC payload of the Aditya L1 is equipped with a spectropolarimeter to perform full stokes spectropolarimetric observations in...


Technical aspects of VELC onboard ADITYA-L1: India’s first solar space mission

This article is the review of a journal paper on the Visible Emission Line Coronagraph, the primary payload onboard India’s first solar space mission, ADITYA-L1. The paper discusses some technical details of VELC and the work done in analyzing them....


Category High Energy Astrophysical Phenomena

Understanding the evolution of the binary star system ‘Cen X-3’: New measurements of the spin and orbital parameters of the system

Researchers from Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics (IUCAA), Pune, present the new measurements of the spin and orbital parameters of the binary star system ‘Cen X-3’. This work is a step forward in understanding the complex dynamics of the...


How strong is a neutron star's magnetic field?

Estimating the strength of the magnetic field of a neutron star in a binary star system ‘Cen X-3’


Futuristic gravitational wave observations to resolve dichotomy of compact objects

Gravitational waves are invisible ripples in space travel at the speed of light. It is generated in different scenarios, such as when two celestial bodies orbit around each other, an isolated body with tri-axial symmetry spins, inhomogeneity in matter distribution...


Category Astrophysics of Galaxies

EARTH-SIZED TELESCOPES FOR ASTRONOMICAL OBSERVATIONS IN THE LOW RADIO FREQUENCIES

The study of the cosmos is only complete when we can receive and analyse data from the entire electromagnetic spectrum, ranging from picometer-sized gamma rays to several meters long radio waves. This realization is what led to the advent of...


Mass of the Black Hole in the nearby AGN: Mrk 590

Most of the massive galaxies in the Universe host a supermassive black hole (SMBH) at their center. A minority among them are known as active galaxies and host active galactic nuclei (AGNs). These AGN are believed to be powered by...


Bar Buckling and Boxy/Peanut Bulges as the Tracer of Dark Matter Halo Shape

Galaxies reside in the deep potential of invisible matter called dark matter. Their dynamics is significantly affected by the distribution of dark matter around them. Distribution of dark matter around galaxies is usually known as dark matter halo. Most of...


Category Cosmology and Nongalactic Astrophysics

Shedding Light on the Cosmic Web with Fast Radio Bursts

Fast Radio Bursts are millisecond-duration radio transients of extragalactic origin. Their dispersion measures are sensitive to the presence of ionized matter along their lines of sight. This unique measurable makes FRBs a promising cosmological probe that can shed light on...


Category Astrobiology

Astrobiology: Exploring the universe for signs of extra-terrestrial life

The only life forms we know about are the ones that exist on Earth. Due to advancements in space exploration, it has become possible to send rovers, probes, space crafts, and telescopes in further deep space. With the help of...


Sir C. V. Raman: Raman effect and beyond

We Indians celebrate National Science Day on 28th February each year to mark the discovery of the Raman effect by Sir C. V. Raman. Some of Raman’s discoveries like the Raman effect (for which he was awarded the Nobel prize),...