Astronomy 3130 - Course Outline
Astronomy Building Room 265 - T Th 11:00-12:15 - Spring 2014

Professor: Michael Skrutskie, Nitya Kallivayalil, Matt Nelson, John Wilson
           Room 204 -- Astronomy Building
           Phone 243-4329
           Office Hours - after class and by appointment
           email: mfs4n
           T.A.: Nick Troup and Andrew Burkhardt
(linked to notes)
TopicsTextsDay ProblemsNight Lab Majewski Notes
Week 1:
January 14-16
Course organization, tracking clear skies, spherical trig, celestial sphere, ecliptic, RA/Dec, solar and sidereal time, sunrise/sunset Chromey 1.6.1; Chromey 3.1-3.3;
Birney Ch 1 and 2
Day Assignment 1
Prelab 1 csphere
Week 2:
January 21-23
Catalogs, coordinate transformations on a sphere, precession, galactic coordinates, airmass and refraction, observation sequencing, ephemerides Chromey 3.1.1,2,8,9,12; 4.1
Birney Chapters 3 and 4
all light reading
Day Assignment 2 Lab 1
Lab 1 guidance
precession, etc
Week 3:
January 28-30
Reflection, refraction, lenses, telescopes, telescope configurations, image formation and quality, aberrations, diffraction, airy pattern, Strehl, seeing Birney Chapter 6
Chromey Chapters 5 and 6
read both completely but with an emphasis on material that overlaps with class discussion.
Prelab 2 Scopes1 - intro
Scopes2 - magnification
Scopes3 - light gathering
Scopes4 - resolution
Scopes5 - aberrations
Week 4:
February 4-6
EM spectrum and light review, atmospheric transmission and extinction, photon detection, imaging array architectures, Poisson statistics, read noise, gaussian noise in general. Birney Chapters 7 and 8
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.)
Lab 2
Week 5:
February 11-13
Image calibration, photometry, centroiding and astrometry, filters and photometric calibration, photometric systems and transformations. Birney chapter 8: pp. 159-162 and pp. 166-68; and chapter 9. Chromey chapters 7-8 (again selecting and reinforcing class content). Day Assignment 3
Day3 solutions
Prelab 3 Astronomical Filters
CCD architecture
CCD's and Readouts
Week 6:
February 18 - 20
Image processing and calibration, signal digitization, ints and floats, Image storage and representation, FITS format. Chromey Chapter 9 Day Assignment 4
Day 4 solutions
Lab 3
Lab 3 guidance
Photometry Methods
Image Calibration
Week 7:
February 25 - 27
Dispersers, prisms, and gratings. Spectrograph configurations. Spectral dispersion, equivalent width. Birney Chapter 12
Chromey Chapter 11
Spectroscopy Intro Spectrographs
Week 8:
March 4 - 6
Fabry-Perots, Fiber spectroscopy, image data cubes; Gaussian statistics Chromey Chapter 2 prelab 4 Significant digits
Random Uncertainty vs. Systematic Error
Propagation of Uncertainties
Spring Break Week March 11-13
Week 9:
March 18-20
Catch up and review; Midterm March 20 Lab 4
Week 10:
March 25 - 27
Real-world CCDs; Time Domain Astronomy, Whole Earth Telescopes, Robotic Observing
Week 11:
April 1 - 3
Astrophysics research methods, databases + catalogs: SDSS overview, basic intro to Databases; basic SQL This Paper prelab5
Week 12:
April 8 - 10
SQL in more detail continued; CMD's and science background for day lab 5. Day Assignment 5 lab5
Week 13:
April 15 - 17
Intro to HST; Space observatories and observation planning; how to generate observing proposal ideas Day Assignment 6
Week 14:
April 22 - 24
Intro to numerical simulations; final project: observing proposal
Week 15:
April 29
Final observations prep (last class day)

The Final Exam is scheduled Friday May 9, however the Final Project plus an individual take-home assignment will replace the Final Exam. The Final Project will include remote observing with the Apache Point Observatory 3.5-meter telescope for 2 hours on the night of May 8. Attendance at this session, from 10:30 p.m.- 1:00 a.m. is mandatory in order to receive Final Project credit.