The Lectures, Tutorials and Labs in the first half of the unit are designed to support the activities of the Major Project. Participation in the first half is essential for identifying tools and methods required to achieve the aims of the Major Project.
Each week, generally the 3rd lecture of a week will include a guest lecturer. Professional astronomers will describe one of their research projects, including the science goals, project overview, telescope requirements and results. Attendance of these are strongly encouraged for the opportunity to ask questions about their projects and learn about tools or methods they employ in preparation for the Major Project work.
Generally the 1st and 2nd lectures in a week will be a traditional lecture format on astronomy and instrumentation topics.
Students are expected to attend all Lectures whenever possible. Lectures attendance provides the opportunity to ask questions about content that will be covered on the mid-term exam and to prepare for the Major Project.
Tutorials in the first half will cover tools and methods to support the Major Project work. Most of the tutorial will be interactive sessions with the tools introduced.
Tutorials in the second half will be workshop-style interactive tutorials focused on astronomy instrumentation topics. The topics covered and the interactive Q&A format are key for gaining a deep understanding of instrumentation topics for the Major Project report, reflective writing and individual interviews.
Labs provide hands-on python programming and instrumentation work related to telescope and science-grade astronomical cameras. Labs provide important way to learn tools in preparation for the Major Project. The python labs will be conducted individually. The other two labs will be pairs of students, who will submit individual lab reports.
Python programming resources
The Major Project and standards labs requires use of the Python programming language. There are signfiicant resources online about how to program with python and specific tools for writing astronomy code:
Students will get to select and use various software tools to help manage their Major Project work. Some examples will include:
- Communications & Project management
- File and document sharing
Recommended Texts and/or Materials
There is no single textbook that covers all of the course material in this unit. Appropriate material will be provided during the course. Useful textbooks are listed below.
Recommended Reading/Useful References
Foundations of Astrophysics by Barbara Ryden, Addison-Wesley, (2009)
Observational Astrophysics by Robert C. Smith, Cambridge University Press (1995)
Astrophysical Techniques, C R Kitchin, Institute of Physics Publishing (2003)
Adaptive Optics for Astronomical Telescopes, John W Hardy, Oxford University Press (1998)
Astrophysical quantities, C W Allen, London : Athlone Press (1973) ISBN0485111500e
Teaching and Learning Strategy
This unit is taught through a Major Project, Lectures and through undertaking laboratory experiments. The Major Project follows a project-based learning paradigm with team self-directed projects. The open-ended nature of the projects allows student definition of the project’s goals and find the tools required to achieve those goals.
Questions during and outside Lectures are strongly encouraged in this unit - please do not be afraid to ask as it is likely that your classmates will also want to know the answer.