Ay122a (2017-2018)

Astronomical Measurements and Instrumentation, fall term 2017-2018

9 units (3-0-6); Prerequisite: Ph 106 or equivalent. Telescopes, optics, detectors, photometry, spectroscopy. Active/adaptive optics. Interferometers. Imaging devices and image processing.  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.

Instructors: Andrew Howard [AH, 208 Cahill, x8747], Dimitri Mawet [DM, 146 Cahill, x1452]

Teaching assistant: Kishalay De [KD, 245 Cahill, x4351]

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

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


Class requirements:

  • Homeworks, field trips 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 below.
    • 15 min total per presentation: 10-12 min presentation + time for questions

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

Assignment #1 (homework) - 15%
S/N problem + ETC problem + LST problem + telescope design: here
Due Wed 10/11 at 4pm in KD’s mailbox.

Assignment #2 (lab work) - 15% 
Laboratory report on adaptive optics. 
Due Friday 10/20 at 4pm in KD’s mailbox: handout

Assignment #3 (homework) - 25%
Reduce Palomar-TSpec data. Due Monday 11/13 at 4pm in KD’s mailbox: handout

Assignment #4 (lab work) - 15%
Laboratory report on high contrast imaging.
 Due Wed 11/22 at 4pm in KD’s mailbox.

Assignment #5 (final) - 30%
Final report and presentations (15 min total/presentation: 10-12 min presentation + questions). 

Presentation on Wednesday, December 6, 2-5pm. 
(15 min total/presentation: 10-12 min presentation + questions) 

Submit final paper on Friday, December 8, 4pm in D. Mawet’s mailbox. 

Subjects are available here


Syllabus, schedule and lecture notes:

Week 1  Sep 25

[AH] Units, backgrounds, zero points, observing considerations, review statistics relevant to detection of sources, estimating S/N, integration times: slidesold slides, notes

[DM] Telescopes and Telescope Optics I - intro optics, configurations, design issues: slides

Assignment #1 (homework) 
S/N problem + ETC problem + LST problem + telescope design: here

Week 2  Oct 2 

October 4 class cancelled

[DM] Telescopes II [early start time 2pm, class ends at 4pm] - Aberrations, diffractive optics, coatings, emissivity, seeing and site selection, space telescopes: slides

Week 3  Oct 9 

[DM] Introduction to Adaptive Optics [early start time 2pm, class ends at 4pm] Adaptive optics lab

slides_part1, slides_part2

Assignment #2 (lab work): handout, notes_part1, notes_part2  
Report on laboratory on adaptive optics.
 

[AH] Photometry: slides

Week 4  Oct 16 

[AH] Spectroscopy I: spectrographs, diffraction theory, design of spectrometers, spectral resolving power, echelles, Fourier-transform, fibers, slicers, IFUs: slides, notes 

[AH] Spectroscopy II: data analysis, spectral lines: emission and abs., via spectroscopy, NB or intermed. band imaging, etc.: slides

Week 5  Oct 23

[AH+DM] Palomar observing run with WIRC and TSpec

Host program: Methane & Ammonia on Earth-Size Planets. PI: Bjorn Benneke

Logistics: departure from Cahill, Monday 10/23 right after lunch (12:30pm), back on Tuesday 10/24 around 4pm. Palomar dinner time on Monday eve is 5:15pm. Pack warm clothes, flashlight. AO Lab visit on Tuesday at 11am (R. Burruss).

Assignment #3 (data reduction and report on observing run) 

Reduce Palomar TSpec data. 
Result and report due Monday Nov 13, 4pm.

Week 6  Oct 30

[DM] Introduction to interferometry: slides

[TA] Interactive session on data reduction/model fitting

Week 7  Nov 6 [DM out of town]

VISIT to CHARA interferometer - Mt Wilson Observatory - confirmed!
Logistics: Leave Cahill at 1:30pm, arrive at Mt Wilson at 2:30pm, 2 hours on location (visit of CHARA and the observatory, host: Theo ten Brummelaar), back to Cahill at 5:30pm.

[Roger Smith] Detectors: CCDs, CMOS, MCPs, photon counting, IR MCT detectors + RS’s lab tour

Week 8  Nov 13 [AH out of town]

[DM] Introduction to high contrast imaging and coronagraphy  - High Contrast Imaging lab group 1

[DM] Introduction to high contrast imaging and coronagraphy  - High Contrast Imaging lab group 2

Handouts, notes

Assignment #4 (lab work)
Report on laboratory on high contrast imaging, due Nov 22, 5pm. 

Week 9  Nov 20 (Thanksgiving 23-24)

No classes / backup

Week 10  Nov 27 [AH out of town]

[Rana Adhikari] LIGO lab visit TBD/TBC

Email three possible final project topics to AH and DM by Wed, Nov 15, 2:30pm
Presentation on Wednesday, December 6, 2-5pm. 
(15 min total/presentation: 10-12 min presentation + questions) 

Submit final paper on Friday, December 8, 4pm in D. Mawet’s 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

Astronomical Optics / D. J. Schroeder

Ebook - https://clsproxy.library.caltech.edu/login?url=http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/book/9780126298109


© Dimitri Mawet 2017