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PYU33A07 Experimental Techniques for Astrophysics

                                                                                             
Hilary Term – 30 lectures/tutorials – 5 credits (J McCauley, B Espey)

Part I: Electronics
Part II: Astrophysical instrumentation

Learning Outcomes
On successful completion of this module, students should be able to:

  • Correctly identify the wavebands or passbands used for astronomical observations
  • Give an overview of different types of telescopes and detection techniques for a range of electromagnetic and particle spectra
  • Describe the processes that limit the angular resolution and sensitivity of telescopes and techniques used to overcome them
  • Design basic circuits’ power supply, communications and computer-interfacing
  • Apply bandwidth-narrowing techniques to improve the signal-to-noise ratio in measurements
  • Select imaging detectors for a given application, with regard to resolution, sensitivity and wavelength

Syllabus
Part I: Electronics
Electronic components. Power supplies. Computers and interfacing. Sensors and transducers. Control systems. Noise in electronic systems.

Part II: Astrophysical instrumentation
Telescopes and optical instrumentation. Observational limitations, aberrations, the effects of the atmosphere. Active and adaptive optics. New technology telescopes. Optical detection techniques. Optical interferometry. Basic concepts of radio astronomy. Receiver systems and detectors. Radio interferometry. Overview of different types of telescopes and detection techniques for other parts of the electromagnetic spectrum: infrared, ultraviolet, x-rays and gamma-rays.

Assessment

Weighting

Examination – Exam in Electronics 

50%

Examination – Exam in Astrophysical Instrumentation 

40%

Continuous Assessment in Astrophysical Instrumentation 

10%