|Instructor: Professor Gordon Richards||Lecture: TTh 2-3:20pm Disque 704|
|Office: 914 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: Austen Groener||TA e-mail: email@example.com|
Welcome to the home page for Physics 232: Observational Astrophysics. Watch this space for important announcements and useful hints.
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. Do not delay in getting familiar with the telescope and getting started on your projects. Components of the course include lectures, observing nights, and analysis of observations. The amount of time spent at the telescope will vary depending on the weather.
Observing sessions will be scheduled when the skies are clear enough
to observe (see ``Observing'' below). The teaching
assistant, Austen Groener, will be available for help during the
After you obtain an ample set of observations, you will analyze these
measurements and write up reports on your results.
By the end of this course, you will be familiar with
We will assume familiarity with Freshman-level physics and calculus.
Physics 111 or 113 and Math 121 are prerequisites. Students should
also be comfortable using the linux operating system, such as
implemented on the Department of Physics computing cluster. Knowledge
of Python will be a huge plus, though is not necessary. Rather than
using professional astronomy software (which you'll never need again),
we will be using more general Python tools that have more practical
applications for beyond this class.
Textbook and Reading Assignments
Required reading for the course are
Birney, Gonzalez, & Oesper Observational Astronomy 2nd Ed., Cambridge and An Introduction
to Astronomical Photometry Using CCDs being developed by Bill
Romanishin at the University of Oklahoma.
It may also be helpful to refer to Kitchin's Telescopes and
Techniques: An Introduction to Practical Astronomy, 4th Ed.,
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 copies of this in Disque 808 as
well, but again, they are not to leave the room. Please read the
assignments before class and prepare to ask questions. See
the Course Schedule below for the weekly reading
For data processing, we will be making use of the AstroPy libraries, which are included in the Anaconda Python distribution. We will also be making reference to
For help with operating our computer controlled telescopes and CCD camera, their manuals may come in handy.
Also helpful is Norton's Star Atlas or other star charts. Plus tons of great on-line references (for example Michael Richmond's PHYS301 class at RIT). And, of course, the material posted on the Lynch Observatory web site.
I will hand out a list of procedures for safe telescope operation. You will be tested on these procedures. If you have any questions, ASK FOR HELP.
You must sign out the keys on a nightly basis.
You are responsible for the eyepieces, camera, and laptop computer.
There is no phone in the dome. Bring your cell phone.
Again, be sure to follow the opening/closing procedures.
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 observing projects will involve photometric observations of stars and, possibly, planets and nebulae. For the stellar observations, you will obtain digital images of a set of stars, calibrate those images using observations of standard stars, and analyze these data to produce. 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 no less than two and no more than three. 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.
Here's a page of useful observing links.
Technical details about observing are discussed on the Observing at Drexel web page. Once you have data, you'll want to analyze it. See the Data Analysis web page for links to software and helpful hints.
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||Sep 24||Lynch Observatory Tour|
|1||Sep 26||Class in Dome
1/2 @ 2pm; 1/2 @ 2:40pm
|2||Oct 1||Intro to Astronomy
|Sky & Telescope
|HW 1 assigned|
|2||Oct 3||Class in Dome (w/ TA)
Learn to use CCD camera
|Equinox Image Manual (pp. 6-9,17-18,23-31,35-36)
Equinox Pro Manual (for reference)
|3||Oct 8||Coordinates & Time||Birney pp.1-10,Ch.2
|HW 2 assigned||HW 1 due|
|3||Oct 10||Detectors||Birney, Ch. 8 (pp.145-148,159-162)
Romanishin, Ch. 11+12
|4||Oct 15||Data Taking Practice|
|4||Oct 17||Data Reduction||Birney, Ch. 9
Romanishin, Ch. 13,14,16
|HW3 Assigned||HW2 Due||5||Oct 22||Photometry I||Birney, Ch. 5
Romanishin, Ch. 1-4
[Kitchin, pp. 276-284]
|5||Oct 24||Good Weather Make-up Lecture|
|6||Oct 29||The Atmosphere||Romanishin, Ch. 7-10
Birney, Ch. 7
|6||Oct 32||No Lecture
Work on Projects in Class
|7||Nov 5||Photometry II||Romanishin, Ch. 17-18,20,23-25
Birney, Ch. 10
|7||Nov 7||No Lecture
Work on Project 1 in Class
|8||Nov 12||Observation Planning||Romanishin, Ch. 24, 27
Birney, Ch. 3
|8||Nov 14||No Lecture
Work on Project 1 in Class
|Observer Test Deadline||9||Nov 19||Telescopes I||Birney, Ch. 6
Romanishin, Ch. 5+6
|HW 5 Assigned||HW 4 Due|
|9||Nov 21||Telescopes II||Project 1 Due|
|10||Nov 26||No Lecture
Work on Project 2 in Class
|11||Dec 3||Spectroscopy I||HW 5 Due|
|11||Dec 5||Spectroscopy II
Work on Project 2 in Class
|Project 2 Due|
|12||Dec 9-13||Exam Week|
Last update: 11 September 2013