ASTR 306/406 - Astronomical TechniquesMW 3:20-4:35, Sears 552
This course will focus on research techniques used by astronomers, including observational studies using ground- and space-based telescopes, and data mining of large on-line astronomical datasets. We will also emphasize the variety of technical writing that astronomers do, including observing/funding proposals, journal articles, and technical reviews. This course is an approved SAGES departmental seminar.
No required textbooks. Readings will come from a variety of sources available online and in the astronomy lab and library, including:
BGO: Observational Astronomy, by Birney, Gonzalez, and Oesper
Chromey: To Measure the Sky, by Frederick Chromey
Howell: Handbook of CCD Astronomy
There will be a variety of homework sets geared towards the development of technical skills. These assignments will often be coordinated with in-class activities. Typical assignments could include conducting a simple photometric analysis of astronomical image data, or downloading and analyzing appropriate astronomical datasets off of the web.
In addition, there will be several writing assignments during the semester:
ASTR 406: Graduate students will have additional problems assigned, and will be asked to do more in-depth analysis and interpretation of data.
Submitting Assignments: Assignments may either be handed in as hardcopy or emailed to me as a single, complete pdf. If the due date falls on a class date, assignments are due at the start of class (3:20pm). Otherwise, assignments are due at 4pm.
Late Homework Policy: You get one "free" late homework, which must be turned in no later than one week past the due date. After that, there will be a penalty of 20% for every day late, unless you have a prearranged, excused reason. Note: Your "free" late homework cannot be used on assignments marked with "no extensions"
|Assignment Schedule (due dates subject to
The attendance policy has been suspended for Spring 2020.
This course will involve hands-on data analysis, in-class group work, and class discussions. By their nature, these kinds of interactive class activities cannot be made up, and therefore on-time attendance is required. Unexcused absences will impact your score roughly as follows, with late arrivals (>10 mins late) counting as half an absence:
10 or more absences will result in a failing class grade, regardless of performance on written assignments
Final grades are based on a weighted average of course assignments (with weights as given in the Assignments section), modified by the attendance score. There are no exams. The grading scheme works as follows:
|Course Schedule / Topic List
After taking this course, students should be able to: