The morphological properties of galaxies depend strongly on the star formation rates. One of the fundamental problems in astronomy is to determine the rates at which massive stars are forming in different types of galaxies in different environments. The spiral galaxies have been classified into three major categories based on the size of their bulge, the tightness of their spiral arms, and the resolution of individual star forming regions. These three types are Sa, Sb, and Sc galaxies. Earlier studies have suggested that star formation rates increase from Sa to Sc galaxies. We are conducting a large survey of Sa galaxies in order to determine various properties of these galaxies. Our preliminary results suggest that, contrary to the earlier results, star formation rates in these galaxies are comparable to the star formation rates in Sc galaxies. Furthermore, it seems that a significant fraction (15-20%) of these galaxies are going through a phase of interaction in the current epoch.
Lecture I: The Stellar Drama: The Birth, the Life and the Death of the Stars
How do stars evolve? Hubble Space Telescope has revolutionized stellar astronomy by capturing stunning images of stars about to be born to the remnants of massive stars that went supernovae. We will trace the history of stars from their birth to their ultimate, possibly catastrophic, demise.
Lecture II: A Tale of a Billion Galaxies
Once called the "island universes", galaxies represent a spectacle with beauty unparalleled in the universe. What are the factors that give rise to the different shapes of these galaxies? How do the nearby galaxies relate to the galaxies at the farthest reaches of space and time? Equipped with the Hubble Space Telescope, we will try to address these questions in the second part of the cosmic trilogy.
Lecture III: The Cosmic Saga: From the Big Bang to the Ultimate Fate of the Universe
How did it all start and how will it all end? Once purely in the domain of philosophy, cosmology - the study of the universe, is fast becoming an observational science. We shall look at the Big Bang Model of the universe in the light of current observations. We shall also discuss the role of dark matter and the ultimate fate of the universe.