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Astronomy 450: Experimental Space Science

Course Outline


Statistical Data Analysis:Error propagation, distributions, Monte Carlo method, hypothesis testing, goodness-of-fit, maximum likelihood estimators, least-squares fit, confidence intervals, rank correlation, Bayesian statistics

Light as Information Carrier:Electromagnetic spectrum & earth's atmosphere, radiation measurements, timing, imaging, spectroscopy, phase, polarization/spin

Telescopes and Basic Optics:Refraction, reflection, two-mirror telescopes, stops and pupils, Fermat's principle, aberrations, diffraction pattern, transfer function, point spread function, optical telescope zoo

Detectors:Characteristics, signal-to-noise ratio, detection limits

Instrumentation in Infrared / Optical / UV:CCDs, spectrometers, adaptive optics, interferometry

Instrumentation in Radio Astronomy and CMB Measurements:Receivers, antennas, interferometers and aperture synthesis, observation methods

Instrumentation in High-Energy Astrophysics:Imaging concepts / apertures, detectors:

Instrumentation in Particle Astrophysics:Cosmic ray detectors, neutrino detectors, dark matter detectors

Gravitational Wave Detectors

Other topics:Virtual observatories, electronics, instrumentation in space physics and planetary sciences, electric and magnetic fields, isotopic abundance measurements



Lectures T Th 1:00 - 2:20 PM

Homework (40%)

Term exam (2 at 20% each)

Project presentation (20%)

Text: Glen Cowan, Statistical data analysis

C. R. Kitchin, Astrophysical techniques


All information is representative only, and is likely to change from year to year.