The Indian Institute of Astrophysics (IIA), with its headquarters in Bangalore (Karnataka state), India, is a premier national institute of India for the study of and research into topics pertaining to astronomy, astrophysics and related subjects.
The origin of the Indian Institute of Astrophysics can be traced to a private observatory established by William Petrie (died: 1816), an officer of the East India Company. He set up that private observatory in his residence located in Egmore, Chennai (formerly Madras), India. The main aim of the observatory, according to Petrie, was "to provide navigational assistance to the company ships and help determine the longitudes by observing the eclipses of Moon and satellites of Jupiter". In 1790, this private observatory was taken over by the East India Company, with Michael Topping (1747–96) as an astronomer. In 1792, the observatory was expanded and shifted to a complex in Nungambakkam area of Chennai. This was the first modern observatory outside Europe.
Presently, the Indian Institute of Astrophysics functions under the control of the Department of Science and Technology, Government of India.
The Indian Institute of Astrophysics offers graduate and doctoral programs of study and research. It has recently signed a memorandum of understanding with the University of Calcutta to offer an integrated M. Tech-PhD program in astronomical instrumentation. The degrees would be awarded by both institutions.