Observational Astronomy

Astronomy 355/555, Spring 2018, TT 9:00 - 10:15

Location: WTS A30
Yale University
TT 9:00-10:15 AM
Professor: Pieter van Dokkum
pieter.vandokkum at yale.edu
Office hours: by email appointment
46 Hillhouse Ave, office 201
432-3019
Text: There is no textbook; active class participation is needed.
Note: This class is required for Astronomy graduate students. Class will meet during reading week.
URL: http://www.astro.yale.edu/dokkum/courses/observational/




Tentative schedule


Preliminaries; units; the night sky

Jan 16: Course overview; the role of observational astronomy
class1.pdf

Jan 18: NO CLASS (Pieter @Berkeley)

Jan 23: NO CLASS (Pieter @Keck)

Jan 25: Magnitudes, units, coordinate systems, SEDs and spectra, filter systems
class2.pdf
Overview of unit conversions
Flux conversion tool at Gemini
Cosmological calculator

Jan 30: More on units and filter systems; the night sky spectrum and its effects
class3.pdf
Sky model calculator

Homework 1 - due Feb 8

Telescopes, instruments, detectors

Feb 1: Final bits of atmosphere; introduction to telescopes
class4.pdf

Feb 6: NO CLASS

Feb 8: NO CLASS

Feb 13: Guest lecture, Hector Arce: interferometry

Feb 15: Guest lecutre, Andy Szymkowiak: high energy observations

Feb 20: Telescopes: key properties and limitations
class7.pdf

Feb 22: Point spread function; mirrors vs. lenses; instruments
class8.pdf

Homework 2 - due March 1

Feb 27: Spectrographs
class9.pdf
More information on how gratings work

March 1: More on spectrographs; IFUs
class10.pdf

Homework 3 - due March 8

March 6: CCDs
class11.pdf

March 8: near-IR detectors
class12.pdf

[ spring break ]

An imaging observation from start to finish

March 27: Proposal writing
Short presentation on proposal writing

Homework 4 - a Dragonfly proposal, due April 10
Example proposals:
Keck/LRIS proposal for 2018B
Keck/KCWI proposal for 2018B
Cycle 18 3D-HST proposal

March 29: Practical aspects of an observing run
(with "site visit" to Palomar remote observing room)

April 3: Calibrations; data taking
class15.pdf

April 5: Data reduction: bias subtraction, flat fielding, etc
(demonstration with Dragonfly images of NGC 7626)

April 10: Image combination; point spread functions
class17.pdf
IRAF primer
IRAF scripting [don't!]

April 12: Image analysis (GALFIT, SExtractor) and spectral analysis
Submitted proposals:
ghosh.pdf
bykadorova.pdf
miller.pdf
rice.pdf

April 17: Guest lecture, Debra Fischer: the EXPRES spectrograph

April 19: Guest lecture, Hector Arce: the ALMA telescope

Workflow and (more) software

Statistics and error analysis

April 24:
April 26:

Armchair astronomy

May 1:
May 3:

1 more class to be scheduled