- The course overview document (with course policies and outline) is linked just below, and weekly assignments follow.
This week we will review some basic astrophysical concepts (e.g. magnitudes, the Planck function), get some practice plotting, and learn some basic information about CCD detectors.
See the first homework linked below; complete it and bring your solutions with you to seminar on Wednesday.
If at all possible, use Python (and ideally, the iPython notebook) to make your plots for the Planck function question. There is an example notebook below, which you can download and modify.
Our topic this week will be statistics, in the context of astronomical observations.
This week we'll look at astronomical coordinates (used to represent positions of things on the sky) and some of the details of measuring times of astronomical events.
This week we'll learn about astronomical nomenclature (which is potentially confusing at times), and also learn about a number of on-line tools for searching the literature and searching for data.
This week we'll start to look at CCD detectors, which are the workhorse detectors of optical and infrared astronomy. We'll start by understanding the basics of how they work, and you'll measure some of the characteristics of the CCD we use on the telescope here.
This week we'll examine photometry (the quantitative measurement of brightness in an astronomical setting) in more detail.
This week we will look at telescopes: telescope designs, aberrations, image scale in the focal plane, and angular resolution.
This week we look at why the atmosphere distorts astronomical images, and how to (partially) correct for that with adaptive optics.
We will have our midterm exam during our usual seminar time. In addition to the written in-seminar exam, there is a relatively short "lab practical" part of the exam, doing some CCD data analysis, that is self-scheduled sometime during the week of March 21-25. Details, review topics, and practice problems are in the document below.
This week we'll do a bit on two different topics: first, we'll discuss photometry in more detail, going beyond just relative brightness measurements to discuss absolute photometry. Then, we'll spend a bit more time on how you fit models to data (and judge whether or not you have an acceptable fit).
This week will be the first of two weeks on spectroscopy. We'll talk about the basic principles of spectrographs, and what considerations and tradeoffs go into how a spectrograph is designed.
This week we'll do more with spectroscopy, focusing on multidimensional spectra (echelle and integral field units), and doing some basic spectroscopy data reduction.
This week we'll look at astronomy in two very different wavelength regimes: x-ray and radio.
- This topic
Our topic for this final week will be gravitational wave detection. The assignment is linked below, followed by links to PDFs for some of the readings.
I've also added at the bottom a link to the iPython notebook I showed you in class, about how to use the 'constants' and 'units' modules in astropy.