Ay122a (2018-2019)

Astronomical Measurements and Instrumentation, fall term 2018-2019

9 units (3-0-6); Prerequisite: Ph 106 or equivalent. Telescopes, optics, detectors, photometry, spectroscopy. Active/adaptive optics. Interferometers. Imaging devices and image processing.  Space telescopes. Signal analysis techniques and probability and statistics as relevant to astronomical measurement. Some lab work and observatory field trips. Ay122a concentrates on infrared, optical, and ultraviolet techniques.

Instructors: Andrew Howard [AH, 208 Cahill, x8747], Dimitri Mawet [DM, 146 Cahill, x1452]

Teaching assistant: Jackie Pezzato [JP, 142 Cahill, x2203]

Class schedule: 2 times 90 minutes, Wednesdays (in 370) and Thursdays (in 219) 10:30am-12pm

Office Hours: by appointment - just email to make sure we are in the office

Class requirements:

  • Homeworks, field trips and labs 70%: Standard Caltech collaboration policy, you may discuss the problems with your classmates but you must write your own solutions independently.
  • Paper+talk (due last week of classes) 30%: more details and subjects below.
    • 15 min total per presentation: 10-12 min presentation + time for questions

Homework, field work and lab assignments (preliminary, tentative)

Assignment #1 (homework) - 15%
S/N problem + ETC problem + LST problem + telescope design: here
Due 10/17 at 4pm in JP’s mailbox.

Assignment #2 (lab report) - 15% 
Laboratory report on adaptive optics. 
Due 11/15 at 4pm in JP's mailbox: handout

Assignment #3 (homework) - 25%
Observing run report and data reduction. Due 11/22 at 4pm in JP’s mailbox: handout

Assignment #4 (lab report) - 15%
Laboratory report on high contrast imaging.
 Due 11/29 at 4pm in JP’s mailbox.

Assignment #5 (final) - 30%
Final report and presentations (15 min total/presentation: 10-12 min presentation + questions). 

  • Declare subject from list here on 11/19.
  • Final presentation on 12/6 (TBC).
    (15 min total/presentation: 10-12 min presentation + questions) 
  • Submit final paper on 12/11, 4pm in JP’s mailbox. 

Syllabus, schedule and lecture notes:

Week 1  Oct 1-5

[AH] Units, backgrounds, zero points, observing considerations, review statistics relevant to detection of sources, estimating S/N, integration times: slides

[DM] Telescopes and Telescope Optics I - intro optics, configurations, design issues: slides

Assignment #1 (homework) 
S/N problem + ETC problem + LST problem + telescope design

Week 2  Oct 8-12 

[DM] Telescopes II - Aberrations, diffractive optics, coatings, emissivity, seeing and site selection, space telescopes: slides

[AH] Photometry: slides

Week 3  Oct 15-19 [DM out of town]

[AH] Spectroscopy I: spectrographs, diffraction theory, design of spectrometers, spectral resolving power, echelles, Fourier-transform, fibers, slicers, IFUs: slides

[AH] Spectroscopy II: data analysis, spectral lines: emission and abs., via spectroscopy, NB or intermed. band imaging, etc.: slides

Week 4  Oct 22-26 [AH out of town]

[DM+JP] Palomar observing run with WIRC / TSpec.

Host program: Spectro-polarimetry of Brown Dwarfs with WIRC+POL and spectroscopy with TSpec.
Logistics (tentative): leaving on Wednesday 10/24 at 12:30pm, back on Thursday 10/25 at 2:30pm.

Week 5  Oct 29 - Nov 2

[JP] Interactive session on data reduction/model fitting

[DM] Introduction to turbulence and image formation, Adaptive Optics, slides_part1slides_part2

Week 6  Nov 5-9

[DM] Adaptive optics lab

Assignment #2 (lab report): handoutnotes_part1notes_part2  
Report on laboratory on adaptive optics.

[AH] Introduction to interferometry: slides

Week 7  Nov 12-16

[DM] Introduction to high contrast imaging and coronagraphy  

[DM] Introduction to high contrast imaging and coronagraphy  - High Contrast Imaging lab group 1/2


Assignment #4 (lab report)
Laboratory report on high contrast imaging.

Week 8  Nov 19-21 [Thanksgiving]

No classes / backup

Week 9  Nov 26-30 [AH out of town]

[Roger Smith, TBC] Detectors: CCDs, CMOS, MCPs, photon counting, IR MCT detectors + RS’s lab tour

VISIT to CHARA interferometer - Mt Wilson Observatory TBD
Logistics: TBD.

Week 10  Dec 3-7 

[Rana Adhikari] LIGO lab visit TBD/TBC

Email three possible final project topics to AH and DM by TBD.
Presentation on TBD. 
(15 min total/presentation: 10-12 min presentation + questions) 

Submit final paper on Friday TBD in D. Mawet’s mailbox. 

Subjects are available here.

Textbook suggestions (all available from Caltech library as ebooks):

Observational Astrophysics (2012)
Ebook - https://caltech.tind.io/record/898504?ln=en

Handbook of infrared astronomy / I.S. Glass (1999)
Ebook - https://caltech.tind.io/record/731174?lnen

Handbook of CCD astronomy / S. B. Howell (2nd, 2006)
Ebook - https://caltech.tind.io/record/900524

Introduction to astronomical spectroscopy / Appenzeller (2012)
Ebook - https://caltech.tind.io/record/740238?ln=en

Introduction to astronomical photometry / Budding (2nd, 2007)
Ebook - https://caltech.tind.io/record/730896?ln=en

Astronomical Optics / D. J. Schroeder

Ebook - https://clsproxy.library.caltech.edu/login?url=http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/book/9780126298109

© Dimitri Mawet 2017