|Instructor: Professor Gordon Richards||Lecture: TTh 2-3:20pm Disque 704|
|Office: 812 Disque Hall||Phone: 215-895-2713|
|e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org (subj: PHYS232)||Office Hours: WF 3:30-4:30pm|
|Text: "Observational Astronomy" (2nd Ed.) by Birney, Gonzalez, & Oesper and Bill Romanishin's "Book"||http://www.physics.drexel.edu/~gtr/teaching/phys232/|
|TA: Rob Stone||TA e-mail: email@example.com|
Observing: There is a nighttime component to this class. It is listed as meeting 4 hours per week, not because we will, but because you are expected to spend at least 10 hours at night working at the observatory during the quarter (in addition to the ~3 hours of lecture each week).
Observing (at night!) is a significant required component of this course. For astronomers, long hours under the night sky are fun. If it will be difficult for you to be on campus at night, you should not take this class. There will be only a few clear nights during the quarter and you must use them whenever they arise. So, do not delay in getting familiar with the telescope and getting started on your projects.
Observing sessions will be scheduled when the skies are clear enough to observe (see ``Observing'' below). The teaching assistant will be available for help during the observing sessions.
After you obtain an ample set of observations, you will analyze these measurements and write up reports on your results.
The primary reading for the course comes from Birney, Gonzalez, & Oesper Observational Astronomy 2nd Ed., Cambridge.
I will also frequently make use of An Introduction to Astronomical Photometry Using CCDs that was being developed by Bill Romanishin at the University of Oklahoma. I don't think that he still intends to publish it, but it is a good reference.
There is also a new book by Mark Gallaway, An Introduction to Observational Astrophysics 1st Ed., Springer-Verlag, which has some nice project descriptions, but the first edition is filled with grammatical errors, so we aren't going to use it as the primary textbook.
The historical book used for this class, which may be helpful to refer to, is Kitchin's Telescopes and Techniques: An Introduction to Practical Astronomy, 4th Ed., Springer-Verlag. It was more relevant before the era of CCDs, but is still an excellent resource.
I have placed copies of the Birney and Kitchin books in the Astro common area in Disque 808. You may use them there, but they are not to leave the room.
You are also encouraged to purchase a recent copy of Sky & Telescope magazine. There are recent copies of this in Disque 808 as well, but again, they are not to leave the room.
You will need to become intimately familiar with the manuals for the big telescope, the main CCD camera, and the telescope/camera control software, and the focuser:
For data processing, we will be making use of the AstroPy libraries, which are included in the Anaconda Python distribution. If you would prefer to use your laptop instead of the computers in Disque 704, you should make sure that these are installed.
As such, you may not operate the 16inch telescope by yourself. You must operate on the "buddy system", and, since there is no phone in the dome, bring your cell phone.
You must sign out the keys on a nightly basis, log your observations, and send e-mail to report when you have left the observatory.
The following sections of the syllabus describe each of these components.
In the observer's test, you must demonstrate a basic knowledge of the night sky and that you understand how to operate the telescope and camera. This test includes opening the dome, setting up the telescope, checking that the telescope correctly points and tracks, obtain the target, take an image with the camera, and transfer the data back to a computer in the department for analysis. Knowledge of telescope safety and common sense will be tested. You will have to show that you understand how to open/close up the telescope.
The first observing project can be done in Disque and will help you to get familiar with the CCD camera in relative comfort rather than trying to learn on-the-fly in the cold, dark dome.
The other observing projects will involve learning how to make three-color images and how to perform detailed photometric measurements (that would allow you to discover new planets!). For each project, you will submit a written report that details both your observations and your analysis.
For the sake of safety and huddling together for warmth when it gets cold, you will work in teams of 3 (with one group of 4). Organize yourselves into groups by the end of week two and let me know what you have decided. I will assign students to groups after that.
Science is a collaborative enterprise and you are encouraged to discuss the homework problems. But you and you alone are responsible for the work that you turn in. Please write up your own solutions to the problems. Serious breaches of this policy will result in homework scores being divided by the number of ``participants.''
|1||Sept. 26||Intro to Astronomy
|Sky & Telescope
Gallaway Ch. 6
|HW 1 assigned||Start forming groups|
|1||Sept. 28||Lynch Observatory Tour (Start in Disque 704)
Walk through telescope use, both dome and portables
|2||Sep 28||Detectors||Birney, Ch. 8 (pp.145-148,159-162), Ch. 9
Romanishin, Ch. 11+12
Gallaway, Ch. 7
|2||Oct 5||Class in Dome
1/2 @ 2pm; 1/2 @ 2:40pm
|Print/read/highlight||HW 1 due|
|3||Oct 10||Learn to use the CCD camera (in lab)||
SBIG STL-1001E Camera
The SkyX (Professional)
|HW 2 assigned|
|3||Oct 12||Data Taking Practice (in class with TA)|
|4||Oct 17||Coordinates & Time||Birney pp.1-10,Ch.2
Gallaway, Ch. 4
|4||Oct 19||Finish Project 0 in Class||HW2 Due (Project 0)|
|4||Oct 24||Data Reduction||Birney, Ch. 9
Romanishin, Ch. 13,14,16
|HW3 Assigned||5||Oct 26||Photometry I||Birney, Ch. 5
Romanishin, Ch. 1-4,23
[Kitchin, pp. 276-284]
|Observer Test Deadline|
|6||Oct 31||The Atmosphere||Romanishin, Ch. 7-10,19
Birney, Ch. 7
Gallaway, Ch. 10
|6||Nov 2||No Lecture
Work on Projects in Class
|7||Nov 7||Photometry II||Romanishin, Ch. 17-18,20,23-25
Birney, Ch. 10
Gallaway, Ch. 10,11
|7||Nov 9||No Lecture
Work on Project 1 in Class
|8||Nov 14||Observation Planning||Romanishin, Ch. 24, 27
Birney, Ch. 3
|8||Nov 16||No Lecture
Work on Project 1 in Class with TA
|9||Nov 21||Telescopes I||Birney, Ch. 6
Romanishin, Ch. 5+6
Gallaway, Ch. 3
|HW 5 Assigned||HW 4 Due|
|10||Nov 28||Telescopes II||Project 1 Due|
|10||Nov 30||No Lecture
Work on Project 2 in Class
|11||Dec 5||Spectroscopy I||HW 5 Due|
|11||Dec 7||Spectroscopy II
Work on Project 2 in Class
|Project 2 Due|
|12||Dec 7-11||Exam Week|
Last update: 24 September 2017