ASTR 211
Astronomical Observing and Data Analysis Spring 2024
Division III Quantitative/Formal Reasoning
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Class Details

How do astronomers make scientific measurements for objects that are light-years away from Earth? This course will introduce the basics of telescopes and observations and will give students hands-on training in the techniques astronomers use to obtain, process, and analyze scientific data. We will discuss observation planning, CCD detectors, signal statistics, image processing, and photometric and spectroscopic observations. We will begin by focusing on ground-based optical observations and will move on to non-optical observations, both electromagnetic (e.g., radio waves, X-rays) and non-electromagnetic (e.g., gravitational waves, neutrinos). Throughout the course, students will use computational techniques to work with real astronomical data, taken with our 24″ telescope and from data archives.
The Class: Format: lecture/laboratory; discussion, computer lab work, and observing
Limit: 14
Expected: 8
Class#: 3257
Grading: no pass/fail option, no fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: weekly problem sets, lab work, and observing projects
Prerequisites: MATH 150 or 151; prior experience with Unix and computer programming is helpful, but not required
Enrollment Preferences: Astronomy or Astrophysics majors
Distributions: Division III Quantitative/Formal Reasoning
QFR Notes: The course requires regular problem sets. Labs require computer programming and statistical and graphical analyses of data.

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