GeoPlanet Lectures

Observational Astrophysics

by Prof. Rodolfo Smiljanic



Abstract: Observational astrophysics is the area concerned with making measurements of properties from astronomical sources, understanding the errors of those measurements, and using the measurements to estimate parameters and test theories. Most of such measurements are from information that arrives to us in the form of electromagnetic radiation. The goal of these lectures is to provide an overview of things that one needs to know in order to plan, propose, prepare, carry out, and analyze observations. Expect a focus on topics related to observations in the range that includes near-ultraviolet, optical, and near-infrared wavelengths. If time allows, we will briefly discuss other wavelength ranges and other carriers of information. I plan to introduce the topics by looking at some current and future observing facilities. During most of the time, we will be discussing the telescopes and  instruments of the Cerro Paranal Observatory of ESO. Other current and future facilities that we will discuss include SALT, Gaia, TESS, PLATO, E-ELT, Vera Rubin Observatory, and JWST. We will also discuss about how to prepare and evaluate observing proposals.

Assessment: The following activities will be evaluated: one short seminar, one practical data reduction exercise, writing one observing proposal, and evaluating the proposals of your colleagues.

Credits: 3 ECTS

Program of the studies: Monographic lecture at CAMK PAN (item 3.1 in the program of the studies)

Form: in-person (at CAMK PAN, Warsaw) + online

Date & time: Tuesdays, 11:15 am (first lecture: October 19)

Course syllabus:

EAS Ethics Statement
Reading material
Organized by

Nicolaus Copernicus Astronomical Center, PAS