Modern Observational Techniques (PHY4107.01)

Hugh Crowl

How are we able to learn about the universe around us? All information astronomers gather about the universe comes to us in the form of light. Sensing this light can be as simple as looking up at a nearby star or as complex as pointing a computerized telescope with a state-of-the-art digital detector at a distant galaxy. This class will focus on observing with a focus on using digital detectors to measure astrophysical properties of distant objects. We will cover celestial coordinate systems, the design and operation of telescopes, digital detectors, and how modern astronomers extract scientific results from telescopic observations. Work for this course will consist of problem sets, exams, and observing labs, with a self-designed observing project serving as the culminating work. A significant component of this course will involve nighttime observing at Stickney Observatory, which can only be accomplished on clear nights. Because of changeable New England weather, students who enroll in this class will need to have flexible nighttime schedules.

Learning Outcomes:
An understanding of how astronomers measure location, brightness, and color of stars, planets, and galaxies
Experience using telescopes and digital detectors to measure astrophysical properties

Delivery Method: Fully in-person
Prerequisites: An Introductory Astronomy course, plus familiarity with using telescopes at Stickney Observatory. Students should email Hugh ( to inquire about entry into this class.
Course Level: 4000-level
Credits: 4
M/Th 1:40PM - 3:30PM (Full-term)
Maximum Enrollment: 8
Course Frequency: One time only

Categories: 4000 , All courses , Four Credit , Fully In-Person , Physics
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