The lectures take place in the Huygens building #427 on Wednesdays from 9:00  10:45hr. The exercises are held in the same room on Mondays from 13:45  15:30hr. For exceptions see detailed schedule below.
The teaching period is from 8 September through 8 December, 2010. The course language is English.
The lecturer is Dr. Bernhard Brandl, office: #535 (Oort building), phone (071) 5275830, email. The teaching assistant is Nienke van der Marel, office: #508, email.
Nowadays, astronomical observations are increasingly demanding in terms of sensitivity, image contrast, field of view, stability and calibrations, pushing telescopes and instrumentation closer and closer to their limits. Meaningful results require a careful understanding of the technologies and equipment that is being used. This course provides a general overview of most aspects that are relevant to observational astronomy, covering both the underlying physical principles and the technical concepts. In addition, the theoretical concepts of image signal processing are being discussed and practical exercises will be held. The lectures are structured as follows:
The lectures will produce detailed handout notes. However, it is strongly recommended that students get a copy of the book To Measure the Sky: An Introduction to Observational Astronomy by Frederick R. Chromey (Cambridge University Press, 2010, ISBN: 9780521747684). Although it does not entirely contain all course topics, it provides a useful overview and excellent descriptions for self study. The price of the book is around 50€.
For further reading on the various topics it is recommended to have a look at the following books in the library:
The course is intended for 3rd year Bachelor students, and assumes two years of successful studies in Astronomy. Credits: 6 EC points.
The grades will be determined from a written exam in January 2011. The exam will consist of three parts: I. Calculations, II. Qualitative explanations, and III. Multiple choice questions. The content of the exam will be largely based on the topics of the weekly exercises. It is therefore highly recommended to attend the weekly exercises.
Date 
Lecture topic 
Book reference (cf. list above) 
Basics of Observational Astronomy 

08Sep10 
Coordinate systems  Chromey §3 
13Sep10 
Exercises (solutions) 

15Sep10 
Properties of radiation (radiometry, coherence, polarization, ...) 
Chromey §§10.210.5, Wolfe §§2, 15, Lena §3 
20Sep10 
Exercises (solutions) 

22Sep10 
Atmospheric properties (transmission, emission, scattering, refraction, dispersion, turbulence, seeing, ...)  Chromey §10.6, §5.4.2, Lena §§2, 4.4, Roddier §2 
27Sep10 
Exercises (solutions) 

29Sep10 
Telescopes (reflector, refractor, mounts, foci, ground/space telescopes) 
Chromey §6, Lena §4.3, Bely §§4.5.1, 6.5, 12.512.6, Schroeder §§69 
04Oct10 
No exercises 

06Oct10 
No lecture 

Theoretical Background 

11Oct10 
Exercises (solutions)  
13Oct10 
Fourier transform (definition, properties, 1D and 2D examples, theorems)  Lena §App.A, Bracewell §§26, 910, 13, 22 
18Oct10 
Exercises (solutions)  
20Oct10 
Geometrical and diffraction optics (basics, aberrations, PSF, SR, EE ...)  Chromey §5, Schroeder, §2, 4, Bely §§4.14.4, 5, Lena §4.2, Schroeder §§1011 
25Oct10 
Special exercise on optical design  Introduction exercise (solutions)  
27Oct10 
Noise, S/N, and instrument sensitivities  Chromey §2, Lena §6, Schroeder §§17.217.3, Bracewell §10 
01Nov10 
Lecture of 27 Oct cont.'d  no exercises  
03Nov10 
No lecture  
08Nov10 
Exercises (solutions)  
Specific Techniques and Components 

10Nov10 
Detectors (basic principles of photoconductors, bolometers, heterodyne detectors)  Chromey §§79, Rieke §§all, McLean §§79, 1113 
15Nov10 
Exercises (solutions)  
17Nov10 
Detectors  continued  
22Nov10 
Exercises (solutions)  
24Nov10 
Spectrometers (spectral information, dispersing elements, types of spectrometers, spectral analysis)  Chromey §11, Lena §5, Schroeder §§1215 
29Nov10 
Exercises (solutions)  
01Dec10 in HL 207 
Adaptive Optics (principle, components, laser guide stars, types of AO)  Chromey §§6.56.6, Roddier §§all, Lena §4.4, Bely §8 
06Dec10 
Exercises (solutions)  
08Dec10 
Interferometry (principle, components, fringes, limitations, types, ...)  Lena §4.3, Quirrenbach ARA&A, Bedding_intro 
15Dec10  Exercises (solutions)  
19Jan11 
Summary lecture (regular time and place)  
26Jan11 HL207 
Exam (10:00  13:00hr) 

16Mar11 
Field trip to Westerbork/LOFAR/Astron 