Fundamentals of Observational Astronomy (PHY4204.01)

Hugh Crowl

Nearly everything that we know about the universe reaches us via light. In this class, we will investigate how astronomers use light to learn about the physical properties of the universe. We will learn how to measure the positions of astronomical objects, how the sky changes over time, the design and function of optical telescopes, how to make quantitative measurements of stellar and galactic properties using digital detectors, and how astronomers observe at other wavelengths. Most of the assigned work will involve nighttime observing at Stickney Observatory; students enrolled in this class must have flexible nighttime schedules. Previous experience with telescopes is not required, but students should have taken at least one introductory astronomy class. Students concurrently enrolled in “Stars, Planets, Life” may also take this class. Registration is first-come, first-serve, starting when 4000-level registration opens on May 17. To register, email

Prerequisites: Any previous astronomy class, concurrent enrollment in “Stars, Planets, Life,” or permission of instructor.
Credits: 2
M 7:00pm - 8:50pm
Maximum Enrollment: 8
Course Frequency:
This course is categorized as All courses, Two Credit, 4000, Physics, Hugh Crowl, Monday and/or Thursday Afternoons.