Astronomical Measurements and Instrumentation, fall term 2015-2016

9 units (3-0-6); in 2015–16, only 122 a is offered, first term. 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. Ay 122 a concentrates on infrared, optical, and ultraviolet techniques. Ay 122 b (not offered 2015–16) concentrates on radio through submillimeter techniques, and Ay 122 c (not offered 2015–16) concentrates on X-ray through gamma-ray techniques. 

Instructors: Chuck Steidel (252 Cahill, x4168), Dimitri Mawet (208 Cahill, x1452).

Class schedule

Mondays & Wednesdays, 10:30am-12:00pm (Cahill 219).

Make-up class on Fridays, 1:00pm-2:30pm (Cahill 126).

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

Class requirements:

  • Homeworks (3-4 problem sets) 40%: 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
  • Final exam (30%): Take-home variety, during exam period in Dec.

Homework assignments

7 October 2015: Homework #1, due Friday October 23, 5pm in Steidel’s mailbox in 249 Cahill (solution here).

28 October 2015: Homework #2, due Friday November 6, 5pm in Mawet's mailbox in 249 Cahill (solution here). 

18 November 2015: Homework #3, due Friday December 1, 5pm in Steidel’s mailbox in 249 Cahill. 

Syllabus, schedule and lecture notes:

Week 1  Sep 30, Oct 2slidesnotes

 [CS] Units, backgrounds, zero points, g.b. observing considerations

 [CS] Review statistics relevant to detection of sources, estimating S/N, integration times, etc

Week 2  Oct 5, 7slidesnotes

 [CS] Telescopes and Telescope Optics I - intro optics, configurations, design issues

 [CS] Telescopes II- coatings, site selection considerations, space telescopes, specialized facilities 

Week 3  Oct 12, 14  [**CS out of town Oct 15**]

 [DM] Atmospheric physics: turbulence, seeing, image quality: slides

 [DM] Adaptive Optics I - principles, wavefront sensors, deformable mirrors: slides

Week 4  Oct 19 [**CS out of town, DM out 21-**] 

 [DM] Adaptive Optics II - control, error budget, applications: slides

Week 5  Oct 26, 28 [**DM out of town**]: slides, notes

 [CS] Spectrographs I: diffraction theory, design of spectrometers, spectral resolving power

 [CS] Spectrographs II: echelles, Fourier-transform, fibers, slicers, IFUs 

Week 6  Nov 2, 4 

 [DM] High contrast imaging I: introduction to coronagraphy (history, principles, gamut): slidesI

 [DM] High contrast imaging II: wavefront control, specific observing strategies and post-processing: slidesII

Week 7  Nov 9, 11 or 11, 13 (make-up class) TBC [**CS out of town**]

 [DM] Detectors I: CCDs, CMOS, MCPs, photon counting: slides

 [DM] Detectors II: IR arrays, bolometers: slides

Week 8  Nov 16, 18

 [CS] Intro to observing and image processing techniques: slides

 [CS] Photometric Calibration, Near-IR Considerations 
+ Spectroscopic observations, reductions, calibrations, analysis: slides

Week 9  Nov 23 only (Nov 26 is Thanksgiving holiday)  [**DM out of town**]

 [CS] Spectral lines: emission and abs., via spectroscopy, NB or intermed. band imaging, etc.: slides

Week 10  Nov 30, Dec 2 (TBC)

 [DM] Novel detectors, hybrid devices [EMCCD, IR-APD, MKIDS, STJ, TES]: slides

 [DM+CS]  Student presentations (15 min total/presentation: 10-12 min presentation + questions)

© Dimitri Mawet 2015