History of the division of astronomy and astrophysics
In the first years of the Faculty the Division of Astronomy was a part of a former Department of Astronomy, Geophysics and Meteorology (KAGM). The head of the department was professor Peterka and there were only 3 lecturers at the Department (Bochníček, Z.; Hajduková, M.; Paluš, P.). In the early eighties professor Siráň became the head of the Department. Because of the fast progress in astronomy in the following decades, independent Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics was established in 1989 and new lecturers were hired. The head of newly founded department became dr. Paluš. Later on after three years, the astronomical observatory was built in the mountains near Modra and became a part of the Department. In 1997 the Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics was transformed to Astronomical Institute led by Dr. Paluš, since 2001 by professor Porubčan. Finally, after reconstruction of the Faculty in 2004, the Department was unified with three former departments into Department of astronomy, Physics of the Earth and Meteorology, led by professor Moczo. Nowadays, the Division of Astronomy is led by Dr Kornoš.
The first classes of astronomy began in 1968 as the part of Faculty of Natural Sciences. Three major areas of astronomy are lectured from the beginning until now: the stellar physics, solar physics and interplanetary matter. Except the faculty lecturers, classes were also led by scientists from Astronomical Institute of the Slovak Academy of Science AU SAV (Kresák, L., Štohl, J., Hajduk, A., Pittich, E., Porubčan, V.). Cooperation with lecturers of the Charles University in Prague and from Astronomical Institute of the Czech Academy of Science in Ondřejov was established (Vanýsek, V., Kleczek, J.). Until 2006, 114 students graduated the in Astronomy and Astrophysics. The major improvement in the education and science was the establishment of the Astronomical and Geophysical Observatory. As the first observatory in Slovakia it was equipped with a telescope with the CCD camera. Several master theses and dissertations had been made using the AGO facility.
The department cooperated in the organization of several international conferences and seminars:
- Meteoroids and Their Parent Bodies (Smolenice, 1992)
- Meteoroids 1994 (Bratislava)
- Meteoroids 1998 (Tatranská Lomnica)
- Interplanetary matter research – the Czech and Slovak seminar (Modra, 1999, 2001, 2004, 2006)
- Education and popularisation of astronomy (Bratislava, 1989)
- NATO Advanced Research Workshop on Optics of Cosmic Dust (Bratislava, 2001)
International Astronomical Union (IAU) awarded V. Porubčan and M. Hajduková by naming asteroids after them:
- asteroid 1990RQ2 = (6311) Porubčan (1996)
- asteroid 4114T-1= (9822) Hajduková (2000)
- asteroid 1999XU35 = (24194) Paľuš