Astronomy 3130 - Course Outline
Astronomy Building Room 265 - T Th 11:00-12:15 - Spring 2016

Professor: Michael Skrutskie
           Room 204 -- Astronomy Building
           Phone 243-4329
           Office Hours - after class and by appointment
           email: mfs4n
           website:  http://faculty.virginia.edu/skrutskie/ASTR3130/
           T.A.: Dylan Angell (dla3pw) and Matt Pryal (mp5qe)
Week
(linked to notes)
Topics Texts Day Problems Night Lab Majewski Notes
Week 1:
January 21-28 (3 lectures)
Course organization, measurement and basic statistics, tracking clear skies, spherical trig, celestial sphere, ecliptic, RA/Dec, solar and sidereal time, sunrise/sunset Chromey 1.6.1; Chromey Chapter 2; Chromey 3.1-3.3;
Birney Ch 1 and 2;
Nature magazine - article 1 and article 2
Day Assignment 1
Prelab 1 (now available) csphere
csphere2
Week 2:
February 2-4
Coordinate transformations on a sphere, timekeeping, precession, airmass and refraction, observation sequencings, astronomical twilight Chromey 3.1.1,2,8,9,12; 4.1
Birney Chapters 3 and 4
all light reading
Day Assignment 2 (available)
  • Lab 1
  • Lab 1 write-up guidance for this class
  • Majewski class lab write-up guidance (for reference; alternative points of view)
  • Example Lab 1 from 2 years ago
  • precession, etc
    Week 3:
    February 9-11
    Night sky brightness; alternative coordinate systems, reflection, refraction, telescope configurations, Birney Chapter 6
    Chromey Chapters 5 and 6
    read both completely but with an emphasis on material that overlaps with class discussion.
    Prelab 2
    Lab 2
  • Scopes1 - intro
  • Scopes2 - magnification
  • Scopes3 - light gathering
  • Scopes4 - resolution
  • Scopes5 - aberrations
  • Week 4:
    February 16-18
    Lenses, telescope optics, image formation, magnification, diffraction and Airy patterns, seeing and limits to spatial resolution Birney Chapter 6
    Chromey Chapters 5 and 6 (note that Chromey tends to cover these topics more deeply than coverage in class. For the Chromey readings reinforce class discussion and delve deeper to pursue interest.)
    Day Assignment 3 Prelab 3 (available) see above
    Week 5:
    February 23-25
    Atmospheric turbulence, seeing and adaptaive optics, strehl ratio, chromatic aberration, large reflecting telescopes Birney Chapter 7; Chromey Chapter 5 Lab 3 (available)
    Week 6:
    March 1 - 3
    Fabricating large telescope optics, Cassegrain telescopes, Catalogs and ephemerides, image representation and storage, FITS format, ideal and real imaging devices, astronomical filter systems Birney Chapter 7 and 10; Chromey Chapters 4 and 6 Astronomical Filters
    Spring Break Week March 8/10
    Week 7:
    March 15-17
    Poisson statistics and signal to noise ratio, electromagnetic spectum, detecting photons, Charge coupled devices/readouts/electronics, power spectra and time series Birney Chapters 8 and 9; Chromey Chapters 7 and 8 Day Assignment 4
  • CCD architecture
  • CCD's and Readouts
  • Week 8:
    March 22-24
    Magnitudes and "colors"; Filters and bandpasses Birney Chapters 8 and 9; Chromey Chapters 7 and 8 Midterm review
  • Photometry Methods
  • Image Calibration
  • Magnitudes
  • Week 9:
    March 29-31
    Image calibration - bias subtraction, flat fielding, etc. Birney Chapter 9; Chromey Chapter 9 Prelab 4
    Lab 4 (to be updated)
  • Significant digits
  • Random Uncertainty vs. Systematic Error
  • Propagation of Uncertainties
  • Week 10:
    April 5-7
    Photometric extraction - aperture photometry vs. psf-fit photometry, Birney Chapter 10, Chapter 14 (Variable Stars); Chromey Chapter 10
    Week 11:
    April 12-14
    Atmospheric extinction, Spectra and Spectroscopy; Reimagers, collimaters, cameras; Gratings and Prisms Birney Chapter 7 (Extinction), Chapter 12 and 13; Chromey Section 1.5 and Chapter 10; and this paper Prelab 5
    Lab 5
  • Spectroscopy
  • Spectrographs
  • Week 12:
    April 19-21
    Observing strategies/sequences, Practical spectroscopy, Spectroscopic data reduction (in Python), Proposal development, Database astronomty this paper Day Assignment 5 Final project observing proposal form
    Week 13:
    April 26-28
    Proposal development, Database astronomy, Structured Query Language, Online Catalogs and Image Databases