Ay122a (2016-2017)

Astronomical Measurements and Instrumentation, fall term 2016-2017

9 units (3-0-6); Prerequisite: Ph 106 or equivalent. Telescopes, optics, detectors, radiometers, photometry, spectroscopy. Active/adaptive optics. Interferometers/arrays. Imaging devices and image processing. Antennae, receivers, mixers, and amplifiers. Space telescopes. Signal analysis techniques and probability and statistics as relevant to astronomical measurement. Some lab work and observatory field trips. Ay122a concentrates on infrared, optical, and ultraviolet techniques. Ay122b concentrates on radio through submillimeter techniques, and Ay122c concentrates on X-ray through gamma-ray techniques. 

Instructors: Mansi Kasliwal [MK], Dimitri Mawet [DM, 146 Cahill, x1452]

Class schedule: 2 times 90 minutes, tentatively Wednesdays and Fridays 2:30pm to 4pm

Office Hours: by appointment - just email to make sure we are in the office

Class requirements:

  • Homeworks and labs 70%: Standard Caltech collaboration policy, you may discuss the problems with your classmates but you must write your own solutions independently.
  • Paper+talk (due last week of classes) 30%: more details and subjects here.
    • 15 min total per presentation: 10-12 min presentation + time for questions

Homework, field work and lab assignments (preliminary, tentative)

Assignment #1 (homework) - 10%, download here
S/N problem + ETC problem + LST problem 
Due Friday Oct 7, 5pm in Kaew's mailbox in 249 Cahill. 

Assignment #2 (lab work) - 12.5% 
Laboratory on adaptive optics.

Assignment #3 (homework) - 25%, download here
Reduce Palomar data (image detrending, reduce spectrum). 
Result and report due Monday Oct 31, 5pm in Kaew's mailbox in 249 Cahill.

Assignment #4 (homework) - 10%
Python notebook
Report due Wed Nov 16, 5pm in Kaew's mailbox in 249 Cahill. 

Assignment #5 (lab work) - 12.5%
Laboratory on high contrast imaging.

Assignment #6 (final) - 30%
Final report and presentations (15 min total/presentation: 10-12 min presentation + questions) - 30%

Syllabus, schedule and lecture notes:

Week 1  Sep 26
[MK] Units, backgrounds, zero points, observing considerations, Review statistics relevant to detection of sources, estimating S/N, integration times: slides, notes
[VB] X-ray telescopes and detectors, invited course by Varun Bhalerao (IUCAA): slides 

Assignment #1 (homework) - 10%
S/N problem + ETC problem + LST problem Due Monday Oct 10, 5pm in Kaew’s mailbox in 249 Cahill. 

Week 2  Oct 3 [KM out of town]
[DM] Telescopes and Telescope Optics I - intro optics, configurations, design issues: slides
[DM] Telescopes II - Aberrations, diffractive optics, coatings, emissivity, seeing and site selection, space telescopes: slides 

Week 3  Oct 10 

[DM] Introduction to Adaptive Optics - Adaptive optics lab: slides part I, slides part II

Assignment #2 (lab work) - 12.5% 
Laboratory on adaptive optics.

Week 4  Oct 17 
[MK] Spectrographs: diffraction theory, design of spectrometers, spectral resolving power, echelles, Fourier-transform, fibers, slicers, IFUs 
[MK] Spectral lines: emission and abs., via spectroscopy, NB or intermed. band imaging, etc.

Week 5  Oct 24
[MK+DM] Palomar observing run [DBSP, 10/25]

Palomar trip: departure from Cahill, Tuesday 10/25 right after lunch (12:30pm), back on Wednesday 10/26 around 4pm.

Assignment #3 (homework) - 25%
Reduce Palomar data (image detrending, reduce spectrum). 
Result and report due Monday Oct 31, 5pm in Kaew's mailbox in 249 Cahill.

Week 6  Oct 31
[RS] Detectors: CCDs, CMOS, MCPs, photon counting, IR MCT detectors + RS’s lab tour: slides
[DM] Introduction to high contrast imaging and coronagraphy: slides

Week 7  Nov 7 [DM out of town]

[MK] Machine learning 
[MK] Surveys, databases: interactive iPython notebook

Assignment #4 (homework) - 10%
Python scripts here
Report due Wed Nov 16,
 5pm in Kaew's mailbox in 249 Cahill. 

Week 8  Nov 14

[DM] High contrast imaging labs

Assignment #5 (lab work) - 12.5%: instructions here
Laboratory on high contrast imaging. Report due Wed Nov 23, 5pm in Kaew’s mailbox in 249 Cahill.

Week 9  Nov 21 (Thanksgiving week)

No lecture on Wed, Nov 23, Friday, Nov 25

Week 10  Nov 28
[Rana Adhikari] LIGO lab visit on Wed, Nov 30, 2:30pm-4:00pm

No lecture on Friday, Dec 2
Email three possible final project topics to DM and MK by Monday, Nov 14, 5pm
Presentation on Monday, November 28, 2-5pm. (15 min total/presentation: 10-12 min presentation + questions) 

Submit final paper on Monday, December 5, 5pm in D. Mawet’ mailbox. 

Subjects are available here.

Textbook suggestions (all available from Caltech library as ebooks):

Observational Astrophysics (2012)
Ebook - https://caltech.tind.io/record/898504?ln=en

Handbook of infrared astronomy / I.S. Glass (1999)
Ebook - https://caltech.tind.io/record/731174?lnen

Handbook of CCD astronomy / S. B. Howell (2nd, 2006)
Ebook - https://caltech.tind.io/record/900524

Introduction to astronomical spectroscopy / Appenzeller (2012)
Ebook - https://caltech.tind.io/record/740238?ln=en

Introduction to astronomical photometry / Budding (2nd, 2007)
Ebook - https://caltech.tind.io/record/730896?ln=en

© Dimitri Mawet 2015