The study of the formation and early evolution of stars has been an ever
growing part of astrophysical research. Traditionally, often in the shadow of
its big brothers (i.e., the study of stellar structure, stellar atmospheres and
the structure of galaxies), it has become evident that early stellar evolution
research contributes essentially to these classical fields. There are a few new
items on the list of traditional astrophysical studies, some of which are more
related to features known from the extreme late stages of stellar evolution.
Astronomy is a difficult science and it is a challenge to understand even the
stars that compose the brightest system on the night sky: Sirius (α Canis
Majoris=α CMa). This is one of the nearest stars and the brightest one as
seen from Earth, with the exception of our Sun. At present, perhaps unfortunately,
stellar astronomy and in particular the study of the very bright
stars are not part of the mainstream astronomy research. The professional
attention is now focused on the cutting-edge of cosmology, the early Universe,
extremely distant galaxies, the “origins” theme, etc.
The Observatory carries out front-line astronomical research in three key areas of astrophysics, namely:
Solar-System Science, Solar Physics, and Stellar and Galactic Astrophysics. Solar-System research en-
compasses the dynamical structure, evolution and origin of objects in the inner and outer solar system
and comparative planetology and meteor physics.